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Striving for Perfection

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Anna Quindlen

I often have this idea in my head of what perfect Kate should be like or look like.  She is a super woman doing everything right, yoga, running, meditating, socializing, seeing clients, writing a book, et cetera et cetera oh yes and she also has the perfect body, eats healthily, no sugar or caffeine (as I type I take another sip of my coffee) and of course she fits into her clothes from 3 years ago always looking glam.

So much pressure, so many expectations, so many SHOULDS. How often does “I should do this” go through your head? For me it’s so many times I can’t count them. Kate in reality is nothing like the picture in my head.

October has been a “yoga” month for me, I have upped my usual twice a week class to 4 times a week and I have absolutely loved it. My body feels more flexible, I have been practicing the art of surrender which has helped me to navigate the uncertainty of the month and let go of some of the extreme anxiety I have been feeling. But at the back of my head I have been saying to myself I should be running as well. “Yoga is great but I also need the cardio”. The nagging voice inside my head has not stopped the whole month, however I could not bring myself go for a run. The thought of it was just too much, as I thought I would be so unfit and it would be such a struggle. Yesterday I finally went for a run and I surprised myself, it wasn’t so hard and I was so much fitter than I thought! Wow maybe I am not as bad as my inner critic tells me.

So often we don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we are actually doing and our inner critic keeps feeding us negativity and self doubt.  But yesterday she was silenced by a sense of achievement and I was quite proud of myself for my little run! That was yesterday. Today is a brand new story.  This morning the “shoulds” started all over again. I spent the weekend with my family and left early this morning intending to be back in time for yoga. However, I left a bit later than I “should” have and as a result I got stuck in traffic and missed my yoga class, the whole time thinking to myself I should have let earlier, “why didn’t you leave earlier”,  but when I really thought about it I realised that coffee with  my dad at 5:45 this morning was just what I needed and those 15 minutes of precious quality time were so worth leaving later than I intended to, I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world not even a yoga class.

So I missed yoga but I went to gym instead and hit the treadmill, after my run yesterday I was feeling optimistic! In the past I would have pushed myself on the treadmill to go just a little faster or a little longer. Today I decided to be gentle with myself and take it easy. I gave my inner critic the morning off and decided to be kind to myself instead. What a relief, what a difference, I actually enjoyed myself. And yes I did treat myself to a smoothie afterwards because real Kate enjoys a treat every now and then (perfect Kate would not indulge herself).

Maybe we can be kinder to ourselves, less judgemental, less harsh, the world is harsh enough perhaps it would be a little kinder too if our inner worlds were more compassionate.

Yesterday was a full moon, potent time for releasing all that is no longer serving you, well my inner critic is no longer serving me so I am releasing her, setting her free and maybe just maybe in doing so I will set myself free as well.

*First published October 2016*

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