“I’m a Realist.”
I recently had a dear friend tell me that he’s a realist. He said that after he broke an omelet while turning it. He was disgusted with himself over it and proceeded with some negative self-talk under his breath. I said, “It looks beautiful. You did a great job for someone who hasn’t made an egg white omelet before. They’re a bit tricky. There’s not much to hold them together.” He stopped cooking, looked me straight in the eye and said, “I know when I’ve messed up and haven’t done a good job. I’m okay with my mistake. I don’t have to pretend it’s good when it’s not. I’m a realist.”
But, what is real about judging yourself so harshly and saying negative, degrading things for any reason, let alone over a broken omelet? Not a damn thing. This isn’t reality; this is mind conditioning and suffering. We deserve better.
Many of us struggle with the issue of perfection. We are taught that in order to be approved of and loved, we have to be perfect. But, perfection is an illusion; it doesn’t exist. It is a made up concept passed down from prior generations. The problem multiplies when we realize that various cultures, religions and even families all have a different idea of what it takes to be perfect.
Think about it. In our pursuit of perfection, we struggle to be perfect based on other people’s idea of what perfect means. And each person has a different idea of what makes you perfect in their eyes which makes it a moving target. Striving to meet anyone’s perfection requirements is utter madness. It is a point of view that cannot be fulfilled, yet we beat the living hell out of ourselves trying to obtain it.
So, what is real if perfection is an illusion? Simply speaking, love is what’s real. And what is love? It is peace, kindness, compassion, understanding and gratitude. Imagine how your life would be if you were taught that there is nothing wrong with you and all you have to do is enjoy life, learn from situations and be happy. Imagine if you were taught to be patient with yourself, kind and supportive. Wouldn’t the stress, negativity and suffering practically disappear? Wouldn’t you be healthier and wouldn’t your life be a lot easier? Definitely. It’s time to let go of the illusion of perfection and replace it with love- more self-love and more love for others.
Awareness and Beliefs
Most of life is experienced between our ears. Our thoughts about life run continuously in the background, rarely providing a break so we can enjoy a peaceful existence. Instead, our minds fill our days singing songs we haven’t heard in years, aimlessly thinking about something that happened last week or last century and making up scenarios about life that don’t hold a shred of truth. We live life the way we were taught to live it rather than the way it really is. Another way to say that is we are caught up in thoughts about a life that isn’t happening anywhere except in our heads. This keeps us disconnected from reality. And although we think our thoughts are real, they’re not .¨ they are just thoughts. We deserve a real life, not a made up one. With awareness, we can have just that.
Awareness of perfection as an illusion opens up a space in our belief system for something else to take the place of this old, outdated belief about life. That something else is the reality is that you are already OK with all of your imperfections on board. That’s not to say that you can’t practice tennis to become more skilled or that you can’t fine tune your craft as a great chef, but when it doesn’t come out just right, know that you have not failed anyone, especially you. Life is about experiences and lessons. It’s not about perfection. Shift your focus to enjoying the learning as much as the experience and go easy on yourself. You will save your adrenal glands and your endocrine system from the stress of trying to be something that doesn’t exist. The health benefits alone are worth the change of mind.
In the interest of reality, know that all beliefs can be changed. When we change our beliefs, we change our thoughts. Our thoughts drive the electro-chemical reactions in our bodies which is how we experience emotions and the physical effects of that. Changing the belief that you have to be perfect, or that you can be perfect, to the belief that you are just fine the way you are will help shift your thoughts and your emotions so they are more beneficial to you. You can leave the stressful, harmful thought patterns associated with perfectionism behind. These will dissolve when you stop believing in them. That’s good news for living life connected to reality.
What I thought was unreal now, for me, seems in some ways to be more real than what I think to be real, which seems now to be unreal.
Fred Alan Wolf, physicist and writer.
Get Plugged into the Real Reality
We are taught that some people aren’t as good as others and that some people are better than everyone else. Both points of view are part of the illusion of perfection. When we are plugged into this illusion, we tend to view life with a judgmental spin that keeps on us edge, causes over-reactions to daily life events and adds to the whole epidemic of sick and tired. Not only is this state of being based on an illusion, it is also unnatural for us as humans.
What is natural for us is to be peaceful, happy, healthy and carefree. Although we are not taught this and many of us don’t think this is a realistic way to live, it is. In fact, we prove to ourselves every day that living an illusion makes us unwell as evidenced by our high rate of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and even constipation. We are exhausted playing this game of perfection. By contrast, when we are plugged into the reality of life based on the point of view of love, we are aligned with what is real and true. This alignment brings relief, peace and health. How can you get plugged into the reality of love?
1. Practice accepting yourself as you are. If this proves a bit challenging, start with one small thing about yourself that you think isn’t perfect. Accept it. Tell yourself it does not make you less of a person. If that still proves challenging, practice accepting something in someone else that you don’t accept about that person right now. You can’t get it wrong so just start practicing acceptance somewhere.
2. Stop comparing yourself to others and vice versa. Comparisons are only done to make yourself feel worse or to make yourself feel better than someone else. Both are illusions. No one is better than anyone else, including you.
3. Focus on gratitude. Every morning as you get ready for the day, think of three things that you are grateful for in your life. Focus on things you are grateful about you specifically, if you can. Do the same at night before you drift off to sleep. Gratitude is a wonderful antidote to any illusion that ails you. Get plugged into reality with gratitude each day.
Here’s a little more reality for you: You are not perfect, but you are also not flawed. You are so much more than you have been told. It’s time that you know the truth about you which is that you are an amazing being who deserves all the love in the universe. Now, go forth into the realm of what is real, peaceful, kind and loving. Let go of the illusion of perfection and enjoy your life once more.