Day 132: Acceptance and Perfect Imperfection

Try as we might, life is just imperfect.  In other words, though we may have the best of intentions, the best of plans, and though we may be the best of people, things just don’t always work out the way our minds hope or expect them to.

I had a rather startling reminder of this just today, and I’m not that proud of it.  I was with my wife and I found myself getting really upset over something that I wasn’t even consciously aware was bugging me.  But then, all of a sudden, I saw my own behavior reflected through her eyes, bless her heart, and I realized just how out of whack I was.

I always aim to be a good communicator.  I think of myself as someone who is in touch with his thoughts, feelings, desires, and reactions–about as much as a man can be!  And yet, today I was reminded of how sometimes I can get hijacked by an upset that I didn’t even know I had! 

We human beings are tricky animals.  We have these complex brains, and our behavior can sometimes–no, often–be tied to experiences that we had years and years ago, giving us motivations and patterns that we don’t even understand.  We are capable of responding in great ways, with inspiration and creativity.  We are also capable of being royal jack asses.

As I said, I was reminded of this today, when I am fairly sure that I was the royal jack ass.  The cool thing about seeing this, is that I’m choosing to love myself anyway.  I got caught up in some personal thing that I’m going to look at, believe me.  I have decided not to judge myself for it.

I know that I am human, and I know that sometimes I’m really gonna get it “right.”  You know, handle my interactions smoothly and professionally, in a loving and honest way with my wife and close friends.  Yet sometimes, I just may screw up!

This wasn’t always okay with me.  In fact, I think that only in the past few months, I have decided that I need to be nicer to myself about such things.  I have been an expert at self-judgment for almost all my life.  And — surprise, surprise — it doesn’t usually help!

Instead, I am adopting a philosophy of self-acceptance.  Believe me, I am interested in being my best self.  I aim to be authentic, kind, forgiving, and present with people and with myself as much as possible.  And sometimes, I really am those things!  For the times when I’m not, where I may fall off the wagon on that account, well, I’m choosing to be okay with it.  Not to condone behavior that isn’t aligned with who I want to be.  But to start by accepting it.  To start by seeing it without judgment.

I have been reminded in numerous ways recently of the value of this.  It helps one think clearly.  It helps one to pay attention to the situation.  If there is something that needs to be improved or worked on, I think it is easier to see it when one is not wrapped up in guilty or self-judgment (funny that!). 

We get to be human.  And that means, we may not always be our best selves.  Every one is allotted a deck of jack ass cards, and every so often, you may need to pull one out and say, “There I go again.”  The key is honesty, and having the courage to own up to your mistakes, and to learn from them.

When it comes to my relationship with my wife, I always tell her, “I can’t promise you I will always be perfect, but I can promise you that I will always talk it out with you afterward until we resolve it.” To me this summarizes this philosophy.  We don’t need to be perfect.  But there is a power within is, and that power is the power of self-examination.  By being open to learning from the situations that our in our lives, we show our true worth.  It is not in being perfect in the first place, which is normally unattainable, as far as I know.

Instead, let’s accept the foibles, problems, troubles, struggles, frustrations, confusions, weaknesses, and mistakes that will inevitably come up.  As long as we are open to learning from them, and willing to own up to our actions, I think this world is a very forgiving place, where it is SAFE to be imperfect.

So let the learning continue!

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