Frankly, everyone fails at shit. And sometimes we succeed. But if you’re chasing perfection, the simple truth is that you will never arrive.
And, if you think you need to be perfect, if you base your sense of worth on being good at things, on not having flaws, you become incapable of accepting criticism. You become incapable of acknowledging your weaknesses, which makes you incapable of recognising your strengths, true character, and value.
The belief that you need to be perfect keeps you chained to the wheel of validation, of praise and reward; you always need to be good at things to feel good about yourself. You need to look right, behave right, and there’s no end to it. You become un-you when you try to please everyone else, and when you fail – when you are criticised, it comes as a threat to your very character.
Right now – as you are – you have worth, and value, and you don’t need to qualify with deed or action or character, and you sure as hell don’t need to qualify with shape, size, athleticism or food choices.
And if you can accept – really accept – that you don’t need to be perfect – or that you already are – yes, we say it all the time – but if you can truly accept that, then you’re free. Then you can accept criticism, and work on your weaknesses, if you want, without it threatening your sense of value. Or you can accept your weaknesses, without being defined by them. You are free to try shit out, because you realise failure does not reflect on you – failing at something doesn’t make you a failure – if you can start to accept these things, you can start to accept that having a mortal body, that ages, that fatigues, that doesn’t look right in some way – you can accept that all this is okay too, everything actually is as it should be, and flaws don’t reflect on you. Sickness and dysfunction do not threaten your value. You can start to accept that it’s not your job to make yourself look different. It’s not a reflection of your worth.
And so, you’re free to live your life truly, to follow your heart without fear of failure or judgement, you’re free to not judge yourself, and you’re free to appreciate others without judgement too. You become free from hatred.
Everything’s better when you’re not so hard on yourself, when you don’t need to constantly qualify for your own approval, when failing at a thing doesn’t hit you in your heart, when it doesn’t threaten your worth, uniqueness, or character.
What’s worse than failing? Pretending that you don’t. Buying the lie that it reflects on you in some way.
If it really was about empowerment, this modern gym craze would make you feel good about yourself – not because of your achievements, but because of you. But it’s about selling shit to insecure people – shit that keeps us insecure and fearful.
People who feel good about themselves – y’know, people who believe in themselves – are people who get shit done. People who feel bad about themselves buy stuff.
Want to get shit done? Start working on feeling good about yourself now, as you are. It’s not fluffy, vague or light, it is one of the most practical things you can ever do.
You don’t need to feel bad about yourself in order to one day feel good. Feeling bad about your body won’t magically make you feel good about it one day – it’ll just keep you feeling bad about yourself while you purchase stuff to compensate, while you dedicate yourself to that program that promises to make you proud.
You don’t need a program.
The lie is that you need to be hungry, dissatisfied, angry, and then you’ll get shit done. You’ll achieve – but it’s crap. The truth is that empowerment means feeling good about yourself. Not bad, not inadequate.
But how will I ever get thin if I feel good about myself? Bullshit! Who cares? How will you ever get thin if you feel bad? If you remain trapped in the same tired old patterns? When you feel good about yourself you are more empowered, more enabled to care for yourself – regardless of your appearance or weight. When will you feel like you really deserve kindness and success, if you’re clinging to your sense of poor self-esteem?
As scary a concept as it often is – when you start to feel good about yourself, fat doesn’t matter so much. You start to see it in perspective. But if I don’t care about fat, what if that makes me fatter? The truth is – fat doesn’t make you a bad person. It doesn’t make you a failure. That’s the most widely told lie these days. But we feel threatened when we start to consider changing our values. What will happen if I stop valuing thinness? What bad things might happen to me when I let that go? What will happen if I let go of judgement – will I become bad, immoral? Will I become gluttonous, lazy, indulgent or cruel? How can I have worth if I fail at these basic things, these things I have come to value? So we cling to our current values, which interferes with our ability to accept new ones, ones that might serve us better. We cling to the notion that these things we do – these are what make us good, worthy.
But if you can make that shift, you’ll see that your true worth doesn’t lie in behaviours and attributes, and as you value yourself more, you come to value the things that exploit you less, and the things that truly are good for you become more precious. You become protective of yourself. You learn how to care for yourself, not how to exploit your own fears in an attempt to motivate change.
And if you’re thinking you feel bad, because you haven’t been feeling good about yourself – if you feel like a failure because you’ve been failing at self-love, don’t worry – that’s just the first step. It gets better. Remember that failing at stuff doesn’t make you weak, it doesn’t threaten your worth. You can forgive yourself for all your perceived flaws, for not being perfect, once the idea of perfection starts to lose value, and you start to gain value in your own eyes – simply because you’re you.
Also, it enables you to love more, without judgement, which is pretty rad.
Once you start to believe that your worth and character are not based on the idea that you succeed at things, the insecurity and judgement start to fade away, and you’re left with a sense of worth, and the freedom to follow your heart.