I came upon that statement a while back and immediately was drawn to it. No shocker there probably. I revel in the imperfections, so anything that honors a sense of not having to be perfect catches my attention. I honestly don’t know where I saw it or heard it, but I found it the other day in a list that I keep on my phone of amazing things I come across. I love that list.
Those blessed human moments of imperfection can be both freeing and terrifying to be fair. My tendency is to be perfect. Or at least to present myself to others that way. You see, if others were to really see all my imperfections then they might not like me - or that’s what I used to believe. Now, I find that those imperfections are just a part of me. And honestly more authentically me than any part that I was working really hard to be perfect at. I also was really confused by what it meant to be good at something and the ability to still make mistakes. I didn’t realize that those two things could co-exist. I didn’t realize that I could kick ass at something and still mess it up from time to time. These days, man I rock out and simultaneously mess it up all of the time…really, I do it a lot!! I defy perfection at this point. Now that doesn’t mean I like to go around a hot mess, stringing my mess behind me like a parade of sorts. But it does mean that I let myself off the hook when I get something wrong, forget something or don’t have the energy to do something as I would like to. It means I extend grace to myself and I have learned to invite in more of what I need during those times, which is usually some sort of support, some down time and some self-compassion.
But the always present part, well that’s also really hard. And for the record it says “always present” which to mean says I can never not be present, so if it were my quote or statement I would say mostly present. Being present is hard because there are so many damn distractions in our lives. One of the big ones can be the drive towards perfection because nothing takes us outside of our true selves, like the acts of perfection do. Being present means I have to slow down and connect with myself, even in the moments I don’t really like myself. I means that I have to see what my needs are but also value them enough to have them met. Sometimes I’ve seen people (including myself) get stuck because they know what they need, but they value other people’s needs over there own. That there my friends is a discussion on boundaries and personal worth, and we will have to save that for another time though. Being present also means slowing down enough to see the people in front of me. To stop going through the motions or the to-do list long enough to sit, hear, see and respond to what someone else is presenting in front of me. Which let’s be honest, I don’t always like the person in front of me either. Or maybe I do like them but I don’t like where they are in this moment so would rather not be present for that part. Being present for me takes intentional choice and it comes with responsibility. If I intentionally choose to be present with myself and someone else, then I have to respond to what’s in front of me. I can’t ignore it or pretend I wasn’t aware that it was there. It takes times and it takes me prioritizing humanity over the to-do list.
So I absolutely am never perfect. I am fallible and sometimes messy. Always present? Well I strive to be mostly present. I know sometimes I miss the boat or end up on the wrong boat going in the wrong direction. And when I find myself in that position, I grab one of those ugly orange life preservers and I jump in the water. I change course, dry off and re-engage to the best of my ability.
I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know what voices of perfection are speaking to you. I don’t know if you are present in your own life and in the lives of those you love. But I guarantee there is a life preserver just waiting for you to grab it. I hope you do it.