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.