Did you read this title as: "I am perfection?" or, did you read it as "imperfection?" Even before Brene Brown, I spent a lot of time thinking about perfection. In the last couple of years, I have realized that real perfection is the acceptance of my imperfections. Truly, if I could allow myself to own my imperfections, I would not need to wear a mask pretending perfection, spend all my time dedicated to being perfect in the eyes of others, or, wrestle with the fear and shame of being seen as lesser if I actually made a mistake..
The self-condemnation that follows the attempt to be perfect has a devastating impact on our self-worth, self-acceptance and worst of all it contributes to a disconnect within our internal self. This internal connection to self is vital to our authenticity and spirit. When it fractures, we lose our sense of self and begin to react in a way that may be pleasing to others but may defy our own personal needs.
Plain and simple, the cost is too high for me or any of us to pay. It is a lot easier and certainly more authentic to accept and acknowledge, I am imperfect, I have strengths as well as limitations and weaknesses, I succeed and I fail, and all of that is not just okay, it is great!
When I try to be perfect I risk being arrogant and judgmental of others; when I try to be perfect but error, I am prone to feeling shame and guilt. Trying to be perfect is a lose/lose experience. Allowing ourselves the opportunity to be imperfect is a win / win experience. I am authentic, I learn from my mistakes, I take more risks, and I grow beyond my wildest dreams. The caveat is I influence others in a positive way, also.. My being authentically imperfect offers them the comfort of doing the same for themselves. This is what 'being' whole is about. It is about being exactly who we are, flaws, talents and everything else.
Years ago, I gave a talk at my church on a Sunday morning. I suddenly was overcome with fright to the point, that my throat closed up, I could barely speak and was having a phobic moment. I have always been afraid to speak in front of people but always wanted to. The people at the church pretended nothing had happened and said absolutely nothing to me.
Their silence was deafening and far worse than if they had asked me "what happened." I learned from that experience to own what is happening to me in the moment. Had I acknowledged how nervous I was, instead of pretending otherwise, I would have relaxed and let go of my fear and the need to unsuccessfully hide it, leaving me feeling very ashamed. Today, through persistence, I am at ease speaking in front of people and enjoy it very much.
It takes courage to be authentic, but the rewards are immense. What a beautiful world it would be if we could all meet at the cross section of strength and weakness and greet each other with compassion and understanding. Do you have an imperfect story? I invite you to share and join the I-M-Perfection club.