One of my life goals is to be authentic. Initially, this may seem or sound simple. Being authentic simply means to be true to yourself, speak your truth, or live your values. However, one of the hardest parts about being authentic is recognizing that I am not perfect. Thus, part of being authentic is giving myself permission to be imperfect.

The struggle to be authentic

This has been a struggle for me at times. I strive for perfection, have high goals for myself, and push myself beyond what most would believe to be comfortable thresholds. The advantages of this are that I have become extremely disciplined with how I spend my time, I often (but not always) achieve my goals, and when I fall short of my goals I am still able to feel good about my results because of the effort I have put forth.

However, the downside of striving for perfection is that when I fall short in ANY aspect of my life, then I am at risk of not being happy with myself or feeling unsatisfied. Additionally, I can be excessively hard on myself when I don’t reach my goals. Further, I often put so much pressure on myself that it is difficult for me to enjoy the inevitable ups and downs of life, its twists and turns, and zigs and zags that come with living life and being a human.

Permission to be imperfect

Part of the antidote for this is to recognize that in order for me to be authentic, I must give myself permission to be imperfect and still be happy by accepting myself for who I am at this moment in time and accept the current circumstances of life. This does not mean lowering standards or not trying to change your circumstances. It is simply accepting where you are in this moment, feeling good about the progress you have made in some areas of your life, and recognizing that you would prefer to change other areas of your life.  Helpful thoughts to aid in this process include:

  1. My self-worth encompasses more than my external circumstances (e.g., weight, financial worth, career, relationships)
  2. My invisible self is shining right now and worthy of love
  3. I am going to give myself permission to be happy, even if everything is not exactly how I would like it to be in my life right now.
  4. I may not prefer my current circumstances, but I am willing to accept them.
  5. I am going to practice being kind and compassionate to myself today.

Plus, when we fight our current circumstances, then that often leads to unhelpful thoughts such as:

I should/must/need to have more money, improved relationships, or better body/weight in order to be happy, let myself relax, and accept myself for who I am.

This type of perfectionist thinking distracts us from being in tune with our higher self or spirit. Plus, our self worth and attraction is often viewed by others to be completely different than how we view ourselves when we are demanding perfection. If we really want to be authentic, then it can help to learn to accept ourselves for our strengths and imperfections, even if our life is not exactly how we would like it to be.

Source: Author: Dr. Matthew Welsh, J.D., Ph.D

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