Never Perfect

4 May

I believe we are the product of nature and nurture, our genes and our environment and more influences than we can count. As a young person, we are molded and shaped by whoever raised us, and we are generally unaware of the influence of those people on who we become. We all know people who say, “That’s just the way I am” which is usually followed by an explanation of some action others found offensive. I know that because I used to be that person. I thought I was just born a certain way, and there was no way to change who I was. It was, perhaps, the most damaging belief I’ve ever had.

A belief like that is so limiting. It traps you where you are and doesn’t let you grow. It makes you a smaller person than you were meant to be. It keeps you from connecting with the Divine in the most profound ways and can kill you faster than alcohol and drugs if you truly believe it, and in most cases, it can be summed up in one word: unworthiness. Unworthiness is the product of believing things you were told by people who felt unworthy, and it creates a person who struggles; who feels unloved, insufficient and undeserving. It is as destructive as any flood, tornado or hurricane. The difference is that instead of damaging your stuff, it damages your heart, your mind and your soul. I’ve done the things I’m most ashamed of when I felt the most unworthy. I’ve treated people the worst when I’ve felt unworthy. I’ve let my home, my body and my relationships crumble because of my feelings of unworthiness, and it wasn’t pretty at all.

At some point, though, things began to change. I don’t know exactly when. Maybe it was when I summoned the courage to leave a marriage that was unhealthy. Maybe it was when I met a man who loved me far more than I thought I deserved to be loved. Maybe it was the moment I held a newborn in my arms, created by love and gifted by a Source greater than me. Maybe it was seeing the love and trust in my children’s eyes when they looked at me and wanting to live up to that love and trust. Regardless of exactly when it started, I began to feel differently about the world and about myself. I began to feel like, maybe, I wasn’t as bad as I thought I was because someone that bad wouldn’t be given the love I had. I began to realize that my worth isn’t based on the grades I got in school, the mistakes I made or the goals I didn’t reach. I began to see that it was ok to accept a compliment with a simple thank you, rather than an explanation of why I really didn’t deserve the compliment to begin with. Most of all, I began to see that the unworthy mess I was, really wasn’t “me” at all, and that changed everything because I realized I had a choice. I could choose how to live, how to be and how to feel, not let circumstances dictate that for me.

Because I learned the possibility of choosing how to feel, I began to look for things that made me happy and lifted my spirit. For me, that led to meditation, yoga and writing. My entire life I had listened to outside sources to tell me how to feel and act. Meditation, yoga and writing require me to look inward and to let my inner voice guide me. I also discovered Terah Kathryn Collins, Marla Cilley and Pam Young, who taught me that my outside circumstances are a reflection of my inner circumstances. Each one has a very different approach to life and although I’ve never met them, they’ve mentored me in some of the most personal and private areas of my life. I began to create a life that makes me feel whole and complete and more real than I ever imagined it could be that feels like Heaven on Earth, at least for a little while. Then life gets in the way again like it has the past few weeks. The difference now, though, is that I know that there is something better and more real, and that inspires me to get back to that place.

I’ve often told younger friends and family members that my forties have been magical. For me it feels like I’m finally becoming myself. I’ve learned that, while I hope that you like me, my opinion of me is far more important than anyone else’s. I’ve learned that when people treat you badly, either you’re feeling really bad about yourself and are attracting some bad energy to you or they’re feeling so bad about themselves that they don’t know any other way to be. In either case, you can only control your reaction and action, so choosing the one that makes you feel best is the most important thing. I’ve learned that I can’t do it all, and even though it’s so difficult to admit my limitations and failures, it’s sometimes necessary to get the job done. I’ve learned that I’m not perfect nor will I ever be, but neither will anyone else despite the show they put on for the world and you know what? I’m perfectly fine with that. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

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