Present, Not Perfect
Present, Not Perfect
Perfectionism isn’t in some of us, it’s in all of us. It just shows up differently, and to varying degrees. Some of us fit the classic definition of perfectionism: one who has to get it right, or may as well not have made an attempt. It’s been said that perfect is the enemy of done. It bears repeating. Whatever we determine is not good enough, we fear putting out to the world. We fear rejection. We fear being invalidated. We fear failure. Not only that, we also, and perhaps more so, fear success. What would happen if we actually were to send that proposal, win that audition, receive a “yes”, be offered that promotion, have that door opened? What would we have to do then? Are we just setting ourselves up to fail, even bigger? Oh God. What if we aren’t amazing? What if someone else is better? What if it’s already been decided? What if I get rejected?
Sound familiar? This is how perfectionism gets us stuck in a vicious cycle of better never than ever. Better nothing than anything at all. Because if ever, or if anything, we fear that we will be seen in our attempt, and perhaps, even, in our brilliance. As Marianne Williamson famously points out, “Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
If we take 10,000 steps back, and allow ourselves, for just a moment, to mitigate the fear and be inside of the truth: what is is already perfect. If it weren’t perfect, it wouldn’t be. And if we weren’t already enough, we wouldn’t be either. That may not be an easy concept to embody, but it is that simple. When we are present, everything is just as it is meant to be, including us.
So presence over perfection means attuning to sensations as they arise in your body, in present moment, and welcoming them in. Presence over perfection means trusting your belly wisdom about your choices: not only what, when, and how much to eat and to move, but also where to go, to whom you speak, and how to be of service. Presence over perfection means embracing what is instead of wishing it were different, that we were different, or believing to any degree that the illusion of “better” would bring about “more”: happiness, success, acceptance, love.
When we drop what we believe is perfect by letting go of the piles of “shoulds” and “whens”, and enter into a relationship with what is, we open ourselves up to presence. It is only when we are present with ourselves that we can be present and available to others. To the extent that we attempt perfection, we separate ourselves from those around us. And perhaps this is the most costly byproduct of perfectionism…isolation and separation. We can’t give away what we don’t have, and we can’t offer our presence, our support, our engagement to others if we don’t first offer a welcome invitation of all of our physical sensations and emotional experiences to ourselves. So tune in, invite the right now, and find some gratitude for the fact that you are in this body, in this moment, in this breath. Your presence is necessary, and you are already ready to show up and be seen and acknowledged, right now, just as you are.
Dr. Melody Moore
Melody Moore, Ph.D.,RYT is a Clinical Psychologist, yoga instructor, author, and social entrepreneur. She graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology in 1999 and from the University of Texas at Southwestern Medical School with a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2005.
She then completed a post-doctoral internship with Children’s Medical Center of Dallas’ Program for Pediatric Eating Disorders, and three years of post-doctoral study at the Dallas Psychoanalytic Institute. After ten years of dedicated yoga practice and at the urging of her mentor, Seane Corn, Dr. Moore completed her yoga teacher training at the Dallas Yoga Center in 2011.