I, as I am sure many people do, started out in life trying to be perfect. I took the cues/lessons from all of the adults around me about acceptable behavior and about what constituted success and what was considered failure. I began early to believe that if I were just given the rules then I would be successful AND happy. So I embarked on a life time of self-improvement and self-help based on the core belief that I was not good enough, was disadvantaged, could not succeed without many, many changes and a lot of hard work. I also believed that if I did everything right, I would avoid pain and suffering. I also believed that what other people thought mattered more than what I thought or wanted.
I would say that according to most standards I achieved success. I became well educated, gainfully employed, contributed to society, paid my taxes and produced children who contribute as well. I no longer embarrassed my parents (just my children) and I had friends and family who seemed to like me. Very, very successful. Happy? Not so much.
I had many opportunities, disguised as crises, to ask myself if I wanted to be happy or perfect. Instead of learning and becoming aware of the trap I had set for myself, I worked harder and pursued more self-improvement. Finally, I became too tired to press on and ran head long into realization that I was never perfect. I was never going to be perfect and I was definitely not happy. It’s been painful, but I’m so glad I’m finally waking up. The good news is that happy is obtainable. Perfect? Not so much.
Reading my journals I discovered that my real awakening did not start until I stopped being self-sufficient, self-motivated and self-improving. I began to ask for help. To ask questions. To allow others to bear witness to my mistakes and my suffering. I acquired some tools for becoming whole from some amazing people. All that ‘self’ work was just, well, work. I was not really living life. I had not been in the experiences. Being perfect but not being real.
A year ago I never would have joined a class like this. I’m finally getting that being perfect in no way produces happiness, ever! I am enjoying being human. I am enjoying connecting with others. I am enjoying being opened up and in turn having others open up to me. I am getting happier by the day.
Can you relate to this in any way or am I just talking to my self?