“Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
I awoke this morning with no voice, a hacking cough, sleep deprived, sore throat/neck/back/etc…My sense of feeling out of sorts the last week had finally caught up to me physically.
I looked ahead at my schedule for the day with a bit of a sense of dread because I had 1. My usual 5:30pm yoga class to teach and 2. Had previously agreed to substitute teach another class at 8:30pm.
I’ve had to sub out my own regular 5:30pm class frequently lately, so it’s not at all that I dreaded that class; I wanted to teach it again. But the thought of having to teach a second class and at 8:30pm no less, had me feeling less than enthusiastic.
I posted in our Facebook group for teachers asking for a sub.
This is admittedly, in the grand scheme of things, a minor example, but a challenge I face fairly regularly: whether or not to even ask for a substitute teacher for one of my classes when I’m not feeling well physically and emotionally. And then, when I cannot get a sub, working hard to show up fully despite whatever ways in which I may be pitying myself that day 😉
So, 5:30pm arrived, and I have to humbly say: It felt like it was one of the worst classes I’ve ever taught. I felt out of it, my regulars weren’t there, I could barely speak. And then something totally new happened – I had a guy angrily leave about 20 minutes into my class. (I later found out he’s done that to a few teachers in the past few days). I’ve never had anyone walk out of my classes before, though. THERE’S A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING (hahah!)
Although it distracted me briefly – c’mon, I’m human – after class, I thought, well there must’ve been something in that for me to learn. I still needed to show up today. Not only because I needed that experience (to see, quite simply, that I can survive someone walking out of class and I won’t spontaneously combust), but also because a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time showed up for class today and said afterwards it was precisely what she needed amidst a busy time of year with kids, parents, boyfriend, life, etc. So, ya, maybe in a small way, but I needed to be there. For her.
I needed to show up. Imperfectly.
And that was enough.
I didn’t want to do my personal practice today because I knew it would feel crummy (aka: not “perfect), but I did.
I didn’t want to teach tonight because I knew it wouldn’t be my best (aka: not “perfect”), but I showed up.
I didn’t want to write tonight because as I’m writing this I feel like it sounds trivial and rambling (aka: not “perfect”), but I wrote.
I’m not espousing showing up and then phoning it in, but showing up even when we think we aren’t at our best means we put our egos aside really, and show up as something greater than ourselves, because we can’t be in total control. And showing up still means we’ve shown up for the people who count on us. It means we’ve likely still served in some way.
It’s sort of a cosmic thing, a nod toward the dedication to your discipline and your practice; I think showing up is an act of faith, a way of living out trust in action.
I mean, for crying out loud, we don’t have to be perfect all the time. Sometimes, we. just. need. to SHOW UP.
How many things do we self-select out of, remove ourselves from, and miss out on because we simply didn’t show up?
I’ve had so many mentors tell me this time and time again – “There is power in showing up” – and I appreciate the lesson every time I relearn it…even if I don’t want to 😉
*Photo is from shop.nordstrom.com. It caught my eye because fashion adds are almost exclusively able-bodied focused. If amputees are professionally photographed, it’s typically for some sort of feature about disabilities. This photo was mixed in, without fanfare, among all the other Nordstrom ads. I wonder if this model ever felt not perfect and didn’t want to show up???