In the past few months I have taken a couple beach vacations. I know…don’t hate me. I am sure it is just me, but prior to each of them I felt just the slightest pressure to “shed a few” before each trip. So I was a bit more cautious about what I ate and drank and made sure to drag myself out of bed each morning to work out.
When I was on my first beach vacation, I remember catching a glimpse of my swim-suit laden body while walking past a reflective window on my way to the beach. I had the typical, self recriminating thoughts, but then paused and said out loud, “Well, it’s better than it was!”, and strutted on out to the sand.
As soon as I said it, I was reminded of a time a few years ago that I was stressing about a real estate deal and was venting about it to my team leader. He, being not as emotive as me, said, “I thought you go to some program that’s supposed to help you handle stuff like this?!” I confirmed that I did indeed and he promptly replied, “It’s not working.” To which I said, “Actually, it really is working. This is me better!” I can only imagine what I how I would have been acting if I didn’t have the tools and training I had been integrating into my life the year before. I might have been close to injuring someone!
“This is me better.” When I think of it that way, I can give myself a break from expecting perfection. Ever. I will never be anything more than human. And humans are flawed, broken, sinful, imperfect people.
All I can really hope for and work toward is growth. It’s a life of “progress, not perfection” as they say in my circle. I may not have arrived at the level of serenity and sanity I desire, but I am sure as heck a lot further down the path than I was a few years, months and even weeks ago.
When I am tempted to pick on myself, ”should” on myself ( I “should” be further along than I am now) or shame myself for not being perfect, maybe I can simply redefine the word perfection the way author and therapist Melody Beatty defines it:
“Perfection is being who and where we are today; it’s accepting and loving ourselves just as we are. We are each right where we need to be…I am right where I need to be to get where I’m going tomorrow.”
In that sense, we might all have a fighting chance.
Today, I may not be the loving, kind, patient, gentle, peaceful, joyful, humble, selfless, godly person I long to be. But this is me. This is all I’ve got.
This is me better.