“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing,
is giving up on being perfect and
beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
~ Anna Quindlen
In the last of the 2018 Fall retreat series, we'll be drawing inspiration from a book by Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect: Leaving behind frantic for a simpler, more soulful way of living.
As a continually-recovering perfectionist, I admit that this is challenging for me. Especially when things are not coming together as I'd hoped, or I feel like I'm falling short of the ideal standards I've set for myself, I begin to question my worth and often spiral into pushing harder and faster to "prove" myself. As if being present, just very simply being who I am regardless of how much "quantitative" value I'm adding, somehow isn't enough!
I love how Shauna Niequist describes the contrast between "perfect" living versus "present" living:
“Perfect is brittle and unyielding, plastic, distant, more image than flesh...perfect is safe, controlled, managed. I’m finding myself drawn to mess, to darkness, to things that are loved to the point of shabbiness, or just wildly imperfect in their own gorgeous way.
And so, instead: present. If perfect is plastic, present is rich, loamy soil. It’s fresh bread, lumpy and warm. It’s real and tactile and something you can hold with both hands, something rich and warm. Present is a face bare of makeup, a sweater you’ve loved for a decade, the journal filled with scribbled, secret dreams. It isn’t pretty, necessarily—it isn’t supposed to be.”
And so I will continue to practice - saying a louder "no" to perfectionism (achievement, productivity, performance) as my ideal and the measuring stick of my worth, and a more wholehearted "yes" to true presence. Living deeply and authentically in life, just as it presents itself each moment. A lifetime journey!