Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Gifts of Imperfection: Week 3–Saturday

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This week was all about letting go of perfection…ugh!

“Perfectionism is a self-desctructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgement and blame.” –Dr. Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection page 57

Perfectionism was my weapon against shame as a young person. It sounds so silly because I was so perfectly imperfect even then…but oh did I go through emotional and mental gymnastics trying to GET perfect. It was my attempt to keep fear at bay and it worked…now and then.

This week’s assignment was to find pictures of times when we were trying to be perfect but could have used some self compassion.

My first pic is me at about 8 at summer church camp. Contrary to everything I ever said to anyone…I hated summer camp. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I felt awkward. I didn’t know the kids. To top it all off these were the years when I’d started putting on weight during my abuse. I felt gross…ugly…and just generally like I wanted to be anywhere else in the world. And yet there I was. When I look at this picture now I wish I could whisper in her ear…”Just join in the fun. You won’t break if you play a little. Real life is so serious at home right now. Just use this time to laugh.” She was a very sweet and smart kid…and terrified to have fun because she was too grown up…too serious…too afraid of looking foolish…to afraid of most everything.
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My second picture is MUCH later. I’m about 27. I’m thinner than I’d been in a long time. On the surface the picture is beautiful. But I know what was going on in that woman’s head. I was angry. I was unhappy. I was lonely. And I was faking that smile more that day than I had in quite some time. Given the chance I’d lean in, pull that LONG mane of hair back and say “Soon. Someday soon your smile will come back. Your real…natural…joyful smile. You will be loved. You will FEEL loved. You will be whole. Soon.”
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The Gifts of Imperfection: Week 2, Saturday

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Note: I wrote part of this post yesterday (Saturday) and finished it today (Sunday)

This week we worked on cultivating authenticity and used an exercise where we had to pick a picture of ourself where we feel our true essence shines through. We then had to answer a few sentences about the version of ourselves in the picture we selected.

Here is my picture: photo

About this pic: I am about 3 years old and my family was living in Honduras. The Monkey is Monito and is my very best friend in all the world. (He is currently downstairs on a shelf in the guest room by the way.) I love this picture because it is me before the damage was done and the brokenness came. It is me when I was fearless and when sassy was easy. It is me when my smile betrayed just how spectacular I felt about myself. It is me comfortable in my own skin…healthy…innocent…and whole.

The years since this picture have been both good and bad. And as the old hymn goes “I wouldn’t trade nothin’ for my journey now.”

I haven’t done it all perfectly…but what I have done is get to today. And today I feel…

Happy

Hopeful

Loved

Gorgeous

Able

Smart

Kind

Generous

Loving

ENOUGH!!!

And if tomorrow should come and steal any of those mercies, I will look to the rainbow and hope for help from the Divine…from the hearts of my friends….and from the smile on the face of that 3 year old version of me. I will find courage in my time of fear. I will find remember that a whole person can be made up of mended broken pieces.

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