If you know me well, you know that I may be a little…teeny tiny bit…of a perfectionist. I can’t help myself sometimes. I swear it’s just written into my DNA! On a micro level, it can slow down my productivity. On a macro level, it can be exhausting. I’ve been trying to manage it for my whole life it seems. However, I had a realization at yoga today that I had never considered before: practicing yoga gives me permission to be less of a perfectionist.
Yoga is about being in the moment. It’s about falling out of a pose if you need to – and getting right back up to try it again. It’s about observing yourself with no judgement. When I’m in downward dog and a yoga teacher says, “the goal is to get your heels reaching toward the ground but it’s OK if they don’t touch the ground,” I smile. I can’t touch the ground with my heels and it’s OK! My favorite part about practicing yoga (besides that it makes me feel healthy physically and mentally) is that I get to pat myself on the back for just showing up. This is one of the few things in life where I allow myself to just be.
Giving yourself permission to be happy, be yourself, and focus on what you do well is something I coach my clients to do. Even though I didn’t realize it, yoga has been teaching me this lesson for years. When I practice this one activity, I give myself permission to be happy with who I am. Even if I’ll never be able to hold certain poses well, I’m still making progress. I enjoy the journey, without judging the outcome.
I need to remember this during those moments in life where I hold myself up to unrealistic expectations. Nobody is perfect – that’s what makes us interesting!
Do you have outlets that help you manage perfectionistic tendencies? What are other ways you can give yourself permission to just be?