A friend and I are talking about inner discord. “I was surprised to read about your struggle with your internal critter,” she says. “I always think you’ve got everything so together.”
Recognizing and acknowledging my inner critter isn’t about not having things ‘together’, it’s about seeing everything fitting together the way it does, critter and all and accepting it is all essential to the whole of my life.
I don’t judge myself for those inner struggles with the critter, I told my friend. They are imminently human and, because I like to celebrate my human condition, I accept my struggles and celebrate my capacity to move through them — sometimes with grace and ease. Other times kicking and screaming as I pound my fists against the injustices of the world around me. Even when I falter and give into ‘the veg in front of the TV’, I celebrate my process. If I’m going to give myself that space, why not accept with grace my choices?
For me, it is about our human struggle with the need to be perceived, or our need to attain, perfection.
I will be perfect when I know no struggle, we tell ourselves.
My life will be perfect when I know no conflict.
Ain’t gonna happen.
Living life fully involves struggle and conflict. It involves engaging deeply with life, not just skimming its surface in search of the easy, constantly staying on the lookout for quick exits from anything that involves going deeper than the superficial.
Life is a joyful, complicated, messy journey. How we navigate its many byways and detours, how we travel its unknown depths determines the quality of our experience, not the journey itself.
The journey is what the journey is. Somedays, it feels like a walk through the park, every sight and sound a joyous reflection of our peace of mind. Other days, we wonder if we need to go back to bed and get up on the other side. On those days where discord abounds, we get to decide if we fight against it, or lovingly delve into what is happening within to create our angst. It’s always a choice. And it’s always our choice, even on those days when we tell ourselves we have no choice.
Every day, we are the judge, the juror, the architect, the conductor of our experience. Choosing to love ourselves in all our complexities creates space for the journey to be less of a struggle against ourselves and more of an adventure into falling in love with ourselves.
Falling in love with ourselves isn’t about seeing only what we judge to be the beautiful or worthy about ourselves. It’s about accepting all of ourselves, critters and angels, sinners and saints, those parts we deem worthy, those we don’t.
Ultimately, I gotta love all of me ’cause all of me is all I got. Loving all of me means embracing beauty and the beast. Dark and light. Yin and yang. Wounds and wisdom, without wishing I was some other way. If the way I am, the way I am being present in the world is not creating the peace, joy, compassion and love I seek, I get to choose what I do with it – and if I choose to do nothing, then that is the journey I’m on.
Change or stay stuck.
Move or stay put.
Seeking perfection is just a way to stay stuck. It lets us off the hook of being 100% accountable for ourselves; our actions, words, thoughts, impact.
A friend told me she was surprised I struggled with my critter.
My critter and I know each other well. I love him in all his angst-driven chaos. Loving him doesn’t mean I give him control of my life. It just means when I recognize his strident calling for me to act out or to ‘get perfect’, I lovingly embrace his fears and pains and let him know, I am perfectly content being present with my perfectly perfect human imperfections.
When I meet a friend and the usual opening salutation is asked, “How are you?” my reply most of the time is “Perfect, thank you.” And most of the time my reply gives pause to the friend. How can one be perfect? Easy. In the morning I get up, pinch myself that I am breathing et voila, it just cannot get any better. I am alive to experience another day with whatever it wants to throw my way. Perfect. I can handle anything, and if I chose not to, perfect, that is my choice.
However, if I reply with a “Fine thank you” or “okay, thanks”, then the friend knows all is not perfect in my world. Then the conversation may get interesting.
Enjoy each day folks, whether it be a perfect one or not. That is life.
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I do so love your attitude! ❤
The journey, as I see it, is not to decide to go to Vancouver or Istanbul, not to hitchhike or fly, not to choose route A or route B – but rather, who will I be when I get there? How will I be feeling along that trip?
“What is the purpose of the journey?”, said the caterpillar to the butterfly.
And when we get to where we are going, BE THERE, be WHO YOU ARE, and always be clear on where you are pointed. The inner critic is not a compass needle – our critics never are. They aren’t saying “don’t go there”, they are saying “don’t go”.
Go wherever you want to go next …
You’ll soon know if it is the right path or not, if the people you are connecting with are the right people or not.
Don’t worry if you find yourself in the wrong place – you’ve had that happen before, and you know the way out.
Inner critics are far worse than real world obstacles. Just overcome them … easy peasey
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Fabulous advice Mark. ❤
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What is “perfect”? Who defines it? Me? My critter? Others? The struggle, as I see it, is forgiving my self for not being “perfect”. A quote I read today: “If we can forgive what’s been done to us… If we can forgive what we’ve done to others… If we can leave our stories behind. Our being victims and villains. Only then can we maybe rescue the world.” – Chuck Palahniuk. I would add …only then we could rescue ourselves…our world.
Love your blogs Louise❤️