A few thoughts about why the desire for perfection almost always stops my progress.
Perfection is the enemy of progress—isn’t that the way that quote goes? Well, if it doesn’t, it should. For me, the desire for perfection often impedes any progress. I haven’t been to yoga very much lately. Here’s what happened. We had a super busy season as a family, and suddenly my everyday yoga classes turned into one or two a week until suddenly, I was doing no yoga classes a week. My head tells me that yoga is only worth it if I can be perfect—if I can have perfect attendance and achieve perfect postures. Well, friends, we know that’s a lie. It’s almost easier for me to be ok with imperfect postures—because it’s something I can’t entirely change. I can practice and learn and practice and even include those poses that I don’t particularly enjoy. This will get me closer to better. But it’s harder for me to accept that I don’t have to be at every class because I may not be perfect in practice, but at least I’m perfectly practicing. Make sense?
I often have these analyzing thoughts right after savasana (and if I’m telling the complete truth, during). Yoga detoxes my body and my mind from some of the negative cycles they get stuck in, and during a cool down, I realize that I haven’t stopped coming because I’m busy, but because I’m afraid that I’m not going to be perfect at coming. How dumb, and what a stupid lie to believe. My practice will never grow if I don’t practice, and if I stop myself from coming because I don’t actually know if I can make it to the next class — that’s too much crazy circular thought.
Maybe you don’t not come to yoga because you’re afraid you won’t make it to the next class, but I guarantee that there are other things that you are scared to do because you won’t be perfect or good at them. Frankly, there are lots of places that I could make progress in if I wasn’t so concerned about perfection. Sometimes, I quit writing halfway through because it’s not perfect. I often want to throw our dinner out before we eat it because I burned the rice (side note: I have given up on making rice; Trader Joe’s has perfectly delicious freezer brown rice in a bag that cooks in three minutes. Three minutes, people. Lifehack that.) That moment when I make a cake and start to frost it, but it’s super crumbly? Not exactly perfection. Should I just throw it out and start over? Well…true story, I never throw out sugar, but I might bake it again just to make it better. Am I revealing an awful lot of neuroses? Maybe, but I really do believe that we are all better off being real and telling friends our very real struggles. So hi, I’m Kristen. I’d really like to make progress at not being perfect, so maybe I only show up to one class this week and three the next. Or maybe I miss a week entirely. It’s really busy at our house right now, and there are three other people who have schedules and ideas about how our days go. But, there is beauty in practice, and there is such value in showing up even if you aren’t perfect at it.