You’re still reading. I bet it’s because you’re either entirely skeptical and want to see what sort of poppycock I’m trying to make you believe, or you’re curiously hopeful that maybe, just maybe, you will be able to shed the shroud of ‘not enough’ and ‘only human’ and step in to that exquisite, perfect self you know is really you.
These are powerful suggestions – unorthodox ideas – and they have the potential to impact your state of perfection by the mere reading alone. However, as with most tips, hints, and how-tos, they find their fullest potency when lifted from the page and carried into daily life. I invite you to try them on for size, take them for a test drive, dress in them for a day – or two. Take what you find helpful, make it your own, re-word, re-order, re-shape the ideas so they fit like your favorite pair of jeans, then step on in and walk around.
These tips are presented like a countdown, and without further ado:
Tip #3: [Don’t] Make Mistakes
In Drum! Magazine’s December 1999 issue, drummer Cindy Blackman quotes Art Blakely as saying, “If you don’t make a mistake you’re not trying.” Personally I have an aversion to the word ‘try’, but maybe that’s another story. Instead of worrying about making mistakes, looking foolish, or casting shadows…live from your heart – be courageous.
My understanding of the origins of the word courage [OF. Corage, curage, fr. Cuer (F. coeur), fr. L. cor heart.] has shaped my definition of courage as living from my heart..
If you make a mess that needs cleaning up – clean it up. I used to tell my kids “people don’t get mad at you for making messes, they get mad because they don’t want to have to clean it up.” If you clean up your own messes, it’s really ok to make them! Life is messy.
When the mess leaks in to someone else’s space….it’s ok! Everyone has areas of struggle and often a reaction to your mess is an indicator of those struggles [or successes]. It’s not a statement about YOU. That doesn’t mean we’re absolved from the being able to choose our response1 – from being responsible – for our mess. What it does mean is that we don’t have to shrink ourselves down to some very small version that never bumps in to anybody.
The reason we can’t see ourselves as perfect is because we have a distorted view of perfection and inaccurate criteria for determining mistakes.
Understand what mistakes are and how to identify them when they happen. Too often mistakes are defined as some negative outcome, some wrong action, some flawed state of being. According to my 1940 Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, a mistake is a misconception. It’s when we see something other than how it is. It is a mistake to see ourselves as flawed. It is a mistake to view other people as flawed. It is a mistake to judge some situation as flawed. Judgments are that: judgments. They are not the inherent Truth of that which we are judging.
Tip #2 Be Authentic
Bring on your weirdness, embrace your quirks, honor your crazy. JUST BE YOU. You were created by design. Perfection is supreme trust in the Universe – God doesn’t make mistakes…or junk. Bring 100% of who you are to the table.
YOU is what this world desperately needs.
Percentages are relative – a relationship between the part and the whole. 100% is whole. The whole is WHO YOU ARE; the part is who you are in this moment. How much of yourself do you bring to each moment? 100%? 72%? All of you…except those parts you think aren’t beautiful?
Giving 100%, doing your best, being authentic, means making the part match the whole. It means bringing ALL of you to EVERY moment. You, in this moment, are whole…even if in this moment you are thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow. Even if in this moment you think you are not perfect. And, if 100% today is 50% of what it was yesterday, that’s ok. Lay down the harsh judgments of yourself.
Perfection is the state of ultimate acceptance, especially self-acceptance.
Imagine you do what you do – art, write, music, therapy, teach – whatever it is, and you happened to create the best masterpiece of your entire life. And imagine that by some strange circumstance your masterpiece took on a life of it’s own and was able to talk to you…and with its words it told you how flawed it is, pointed out every little detail that you missed, and implored you to fix these shortcomings. At some point, without a doubt, I know that I would scream in frustration:
“I meant to do that!!!”
What if our creator feels the same way?
Be who you are, all of it, even the parts you don’t deem worthy and see as flawed. You were made by design, after all.
And the most important tip I can give you about becoming perfect…
Tip #1 Realize that you already are…
Perfection has been perverted to mean some unachievable, external state of being…something apart from who we are. Human values vary from culture to culture, and with those values so do the measures of perfection, and the standards to which we hold ourselves.
Perfection is finding beauty and meaning – and the possibility of purpose – in our ‘mistakes’ and ‘shortcomings’.
We’ve been culturally conditioned to believe that seeing ourselves as perfect is arrogant, or some form of megalomania – a disordered mental condition in which the patient has grandiose delusions (Webster’s, 1940). The belief that we were born bad and will never measure up is insidious. Quit buying it!
I love my dictionary, with actual word meanings rather than definitions that reflect common usage.
- 1. Having all the properties naturally belonging to it; complete; sound 2. Exact; precise; as, the perfect hexagon; pure; utter; as, perfect red.
You have all of you, everything you were given. You are whole. You are exactly who you are and, being authentic, you are utterly YOU. What could be more perfect than that?
The only flaws you have are the ones you think you have. Look in the mirror. See the beauty that you are. Be whole – there is no greater perfection than you are right now. Or… right now. Or… right now.
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1. The definition of responsible as ‘the ability to choose one’s own response’ is from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.