Presence Not PerfectionJun 07, 2022
I'm putting a stake in the ground and claiming this truth:
Presence is the new perfection.
It has a ring to it, right? I’m already seeing the imprinted t-shirts and cute ball caps…it’s catchy, and soooo true.
Until about 3 years ago, I was still constantly & hopelessly striving for an unattainable ideal of perfection in nearly every area of my life. Now that I’ve come to terms with the fact that even the word “perfection” itself is bogus, I have begun the process of unraveling that mental (and very tightly wound) ball of yarn called perfectionism.
As you may know, I co-host “The Coming Unglued Podcast” with my friend and colleague, Kim Anderson. One of my favorite episodes was with author David Hampton, who has overcome decades of alcoholism and trauma. (Listen to this episode here: HERE)
I asked David what the best part of being sober was. His answer got me in the heart. He didn’t say that life was “perfect” as a sober man…in fact, he admitted that he still had epic life struggles, that nobody threw him a parade when he became sober, the world didn’t roll out the red sobriety carpet to congratulate him for his great accomplishment, and he certainly wasn’t happy all of the time now that he wasn’t drinking.
He said that the best part of being sober was not having a “perfect” life, but being fully present in his life…..present to feel the highs and lows without numbing or enhancing any of them.
His personal relationships have taken on a depth that could only be borne of the intimacy shared between vulnerable participants who are awake and brave enough to take life as it comes. He is no longer hiding or running. For better and for worse, he is alive and present in every moment.
No matter what the specific struggle, setting an intention to be fully present in each moment of the day is a marker for success. For the women I coach and counsel in nutrition and fitness, trading presence for perfection has been a game changer. Trying to be perfect keeps us trapped in that negative feedback loop of defeat/despair….and this is one of the main reasons most “diets” fail. Presence allows us to see what IS working, what IS in our power to change, and ultimately, how to surrender the all the rest.
I know if you’re reading this, you are committed to health and wellness, or you are striving to better your current health & wellness. How do you see the struggle between “perfection” and “presence” play out for you?
Do these scenarios sound familiar?
Perfection says, “I don’t have an hour every morning to go to the gym and exercise before work, so I guess I’ll have to wait to get fit until my job slows down.”
Presence says, “I can commit to a 15 minute full body workout at home before work. I will be proud of my effort, because my body loves to move and I can work up a killer sweat with a quick, intense session.
Perfection says, “I didn’t have time to meal prep this weekend, so I’ll probably just end up ordering take out all week and gain 5 pounds by Friday.”
Presence says, “I was enjoying my family and resting this weekend, so I didn’t meal prep. Instead, I will get several organic frozen dinners or soups at the market, and add some fresh veggies to those meals. I will still make nourishing my body a priority and I won't worry about a lack of prepping this week.”
Perfection says, “My job requires me to be indoors at my desk or seated in meetings all day. I will never get rid of this weight because I just can’t be active.”
Presence says, “I know that constant sitting is not good for my health, so I will set the timer on my phone to go off every 40 minutes. I will get up, stretch, and even do “Life by Lori Z’s” chair workout at my desk. I will use part of my lunch time to go for a walk, and find other creative ways throughout the day to add more movement.
Doable when we seek presence over perfection, right?
Are you with me on this?
My hope for you and for me today is this: Strive to be present, not perfect.