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I don’t know about you, but for pretty much my whole life I have worked hard to appear awesome, while praying my shortcomings went unnoticed. Can you relate? Exhausting, isn’t it? The frustrating thing about riding this see-saw of self-perception is that no matter how many highs we feel from our successes on the way up, we are destined to smack our butts on the way down over our imperfections. Despite our yearning to do great big amazing things in the world, we are constantly at risk of being undermined by the fear that we just aren’t the woman for the job.
How do we act in the face of fear? Some are successful (for a time anyway) at bulldozing ahead in life with a middle finger to their fear and a “succeed at any cost” approach to life. Others trudge ahead on the “fake it till you make it” track. And sadly, some of us get locked in an endless dialogue with fear – staying sidelined from even entering the game. I’ve done all of these by the way, and none of them felt completely comfortable or satisfying.
What if there is a different approach to life that doesn’t require us to be a linebacker, inauthentic, or meek in our pursuit of more? I believe there is. I believe there is a sweet spot for all of us that we too easily dismiss. A place where we can simultaneously own our value, strengths, and power – while also embracing the imperfect parts of ourselves.
I am currently obsessed with this notion of embracing my perfect imperfections. Not sure you buy it? Consider someone you adore. Really adore. Now think of all that you love and admire about them. I guarantee as you start to catalog all that is extraordinary about them, you will also embrace their humanity, their inspiring areas of growth, and those beautiful places of vulnerability. It’s so easy when looking at someone that you love! We think, “If only they could see themselves through my eyes…then they would know how fabulous they are and what is truly possible for them.”
So this is my challenge to us. See ourselves through the same loving eyes with which we view our most cherished loved ones. Don’t turn a blind eye to those things that are “not there yet.” Catalog them as part of who you are, along with the rest of you. When we do this, we can start to appreciate the gifts that come from ALL of it. I promise there are gifts and lessons to be discovered in even the most imperfect areas.
Here is a little challenge to help us with our practice. When you find yourself getting snagged by a fearful or limiting self assessment, take a moment to honor the truth of what is, while making room for more. It can be a brief “note to self” moment. You can make physical notes if you like, but a mental in-the-moment thought is just as effective.
Here are a few suggestions to help re-frame a limiting or unproductive thought.
NOTE TO SELF:
We are all just practicing.
My truth and authenticity are part of my shine.
Every graceful and/or clumsy step is moving me forward.
Today I may have triumphs and growing pains…and there is beauty in all of it.
If you would like to share your “notes to self", I would love to hear them.
Go embrace your perfect imperfections. You will feel stronger and more authentic and will set a beautiful example for others to do the same.