Hi, thanks for reading and continuing on the journey of the #selfcaresaga! I’m so happy to have you along for the ride. Here is my entry for the A part, allowing yourself to be human. It’s not easy accepting the imperfect parts of us, but we must if we want to live authentically. We are taught from a young age to hide or reject any parts of us that are unsightly, I guess in order to protect our image socially. Well, I am tired of “hiding” part of who I truly am just to satisfy the world, and maybe you are tired, too. Here, I explore my loooong history with perfectionism, trying to be perfect all the time, and even my relationship with yucky emotions like shame and guilt. Changing my relationship with mistakes has truly changed my self-care game. Instead of beating myself up for not nailing it everytime, I’ve grown in self-compassion, and now I’m working with myself on this journey instead of against. Hope you enjoy!
I think it’s taken me so long to write this entry because part of my being isn’t ready to let my perfectionism go. My entire 26 years on this planet has been centered around being the best all the time. And when I can’t be my best, I pretend it’s not real or just forget about it. I have always gotten so frustrated when something doesn’t come easily for me. I know that’s how it is for a lot of us, but for some reason, I won’t tolerate it. I turn against myself when I can’t succeed at something. I use it as an excuse to remind myself of how much of a failure I am, a reminder that nothing I do is good enough. It’s like that part of me enjoys rejecting myself.
I’m learning that this part of me loves to self-sabotage. Why? I’m still trying to figure that part out. But it makes total sense now when I think about why some things never worked out. This darker part of me wants me to feel incompetent, worthless, and the like. It’s like I’m not allowed to have flaws or imperfections. But I’m a human being, so why wouldn’t I?
I started to look at my situation from that perspective. My rational self reminded me of my humanness. Perfect is not real for us in this form. At least not our perception of perfect. Of course, this did not satisfy the dark side one bit.
Like I said, I’ve been this way towards myself for as long as I can remember. For a while, it was normal. But now that I’ve gotten older and am on the road to accepting myself completely, I am absolutely appalled at the lies I’ve told myself and forced myself to believe. I’ve talked about the inner voice in our heads before, but it is SNEAKY. It feeds you these falsities so often that you have no idea there is another side to the story.
You must be perfect at all times. If you screw this up, you’re done for. And you can forget about crying. They’ll think you are weak. And you’re not allowed to be upset. You have to be happy all the time. Who knows what will happen if you upset anyone, so let’s not even go there. Oh, you pissed them off? See, I told you what would happen. We’re going to spend the rest of the day going over every single thing that you’ve messed up in your life. You don’t deserve to feel good.
Yeah. Heavy stuff. Why would anyone talk like this to themselves? Why are there parts of us that want to work against all the hard work we have accomplished? Well, when I figure it out, I’ll let ya know. But until then, I am practicing allowing myself to make mistakes. Almost encouraging them. Doing everything in my power to remind myself that I am human and not capable of perfection. And being completely okay with that.
So, let’s go over what it means when we say, “Allow yourself to be human.” Of course, we all know we are human. We can look down at our skin and look at ourselves in the mirror and feel our mortality. We experience birth and death. We are all constantly reminded of our true essence. It seems almost too obvious to forget.
Maybe if we address it from the other side, it might make more sense. What happens when we DON’T allow ourselves to be human? We get upset when we make mistakes. We are uncomfortable when we are angry or sad. Well, if all this is part of being human, then why aren’t we allowing it within ourselves?
We can’t expect to live an easy life when we are rejecting part of our experience.
This rejection of our experience holds us back from fully accepting us for who we are. How can I be fully human when I am cutting out half the emotions on the spectrum? Or when I get upset at myself for making common mistakes? I was holding myself to standards that were nearly impossible to meet. My expectations for myself were too damn high! I could easily tell someone else, “No worries,” and then turn around and chastise myself. It doesn’t make logical sense, I know. I’m trying to break the cycle.
I realized how unhappy I was. How mean to myself I was being. No wonder I’m exhausted and less than stellar all the time. My energy is blocked. Half of it is trying to meet over-the-top standards while the other half is criticizing my every move. So then how do I have any energy or space leftover for happiness and love? Plain and simple, I don’t. The dark part of me that I mentioned enjoyed remaining in this place of sadness and worthlessness, so it was just a horrible loop that I couldn’t escape.
A few months ago, I started saying, “it’s okay” over and over whenever anything felt like it was getting chaotic. Either in real life or in my head. It kind of helped me get through the moment when it felt like too much. I guess that sort of bled out into everything I did, even if I wasn’t being serious, I would at least say it to myself just to expose the criticism. Even though it started out being silly, it kind of helped, and I faked it until I finally began to realize it is okay.
It’s okay that you are having these feelings. It’s okay to be stressed. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay not to know.
This “it’s okay” mentality slowly became a theme in my life, and I was beginning to better manage my stress. I began to trust that things really were okay, and that no matter what was going on, I somehow had the strength to persevere. This especially became important with respect to my self talk and making mistakes. When I could convince myself it wasn’t a big deal or I wasn’t stupid for losing my keys, then I was able to begin to construct a better relationship with failure and not being perfect. Exactly where you are this very moment is where you are meant to be. Even if things aren’t the very best.
Don’t let your expectations of yourself rise above what you are humanly capable of. It’s not fair to do that to yourself.
So let the mistakes come. They’re going to happen anyway. Use mistakes as an opportunity to show compassion to yourself. The same compassion you show your friends when they screw up. When we can fully understand that mistakes are part of being human, then we can warm up to the idea of being imperfect. Like Bob Ross even says, “we don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents” and I think that’s absolutely beautiful. Mistakes are just as deserving of love as getting it right all the time. I have to remind myself that only something with the higher consciousness of the universe is capable of perfection, and unfortunately, I’m still not there yet. One day, we will be perfect again 🙂 Until then, I will remember that this great love has absolutely NO conditions. So for now, we have some messy human-ing to do!
After I was able to start to befriend my imperfect self, I had more space for self-compassion. In my journey of mindfulness, I noticed a lot of tension build up whenever I felt angry or frustrated. I realized that I do not sit well with these emotions AT ALL. It was easy for me to be happy, but when the real gritty feelings came up, I didn’t want to own up to them.
I mentioned in one of my recent Instagram posts that I did not like confrontation, and what does being angry mean? You aren’t agreeing with someone or you don’t like something they are doing. Which means there is some major confronting to do. But that is too scary. I didn’t want to upset someone because my feelings are hurt. It seemed so much easier just to ignore those feelings. But what I had failed to realize is that those emotions are very powerful. They are trying to tell you something important about yourself. And it’s imperative that we listen to those intense feelings. No matter how uncomfortable.
Think about it. If we deny ourselves the chance to fully feel what anger, sadness, frustration, shame, and guilt are, then how can we honestly say we are allowing ourselves to be human?
We are holding back the chance to truly live the human experience.
By allowing ourselves to express these negative emotions, we are also allowing the opportunity to feel the full impact of positive ones, like joy and excitement. In feeling the true and utter yuckiness of the sad ones, we can embrace and truly feel the good ones for all that they are.
And here’s where it gets interesting. All of our emotions carry messages from our soul. As we are processing experiences, they are physically manifested as emotions, smiles, tears. It is crucial that we listen and heed these messages so that we can open up the dialogue. We can hear what our inner selves are saying, needing, and wanting. By listening to all these negative emotions like shame, guilt, and frustration, I was better able to understand myself. Understand why I felt the way I did and perhaps the role I’ve played in the situation, It’s truly a humbling experience when you can be real with yourself. It’s changed the way I live my life and altered my perspective on my potential.
I still struggle with perfectionism to this day; I think it will always be a small part of me. I can say, though, that I’ve changed my relationship. Instead of denying this part of me, I’ve learned to welcome these feelings with open arms. I want to listen to my pain instead of reject it. I want myself to know that her feelings are so important, that they are meaningful. I want myself to know that even though things may be challenging, that so many good things are waiting on the other side. I want myself to know that I accept her just as she is, flaws, mistakes, and all. This journey as a human is so messy and sometimes ugly, but it is equally the most beautiful thing we’ve ever known. Allowing myself to be a human and be perfectly okay with that has completely changed my perspective on this existence. Now, I have so much love for my imperfect self, and I hope that you, too, can find it in your hearts to love yourself completely, flaws and all.