“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” ~Leonard Cohen
This weekend, I had the privilege of being witness to 24 incredible yogis stepping out of their comfort zones and teaching their first yoga classes. They all did phenomenal. Like, seriously wonderful. But, what I really want to talk about is the pre-class moments, the nervous flipping through notes, last minute changes to the plan, the feelings of doubt and fear… As a seriously committed perfectionist, I saw perfectionist tendencies practically dripping off the walls. It takes one to know one. And here is the truth, we are ALL perfectionist. Maybe not to the same degree, but along a spectrum, we all find ourselves with some degree of the Please-Perform-Perfect syndrome.
There is this mis-guided belief that if we are perfect enough, we won’t feel shamed, judged or blamed. Why do we do this to ourselves? How unfair to put such a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to avoid feelings that are realities of the human experience.
To be clear, perfectionism is NOT the same thing as striving to do your best. It is not healthy achievement and growth. According to Brené Brown, “perfectionism is a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from taking flight.” What do we miss in life by being afraid to put down our shields? You know that slightly sweaty, tight-stomached feeling you get before you do something that feels risky? What if we were able to be comfortable with that feeling?
What if we developed the tools to acknowledge our vulnerabilities to shame, judgement and blame and practiced self-compassion instead? What if we could be loving and compassionate enough that we swallowed the lump in our throats, wiped the sweat from our upper lips, and did the thing that scares us most? What if when we were finished, we smiled and said that was Great Enough? I saw 24 yogis do Great Enough this weekend, and this week, I’m attempting to set aside my perfectionist habits and instead trusting that it is all Great Enough. What would that look like/feel like for you?