Beliefnet
Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Today is Day 2 of my 31 Days of Self-Love posts to celebrate Self-Love Month with suggestions for jumpstarting your own self-love.

Many of us were brought up with very high standards. Your parents might have pushed you to get excellent grades in school. You may always be striving for the perfect body, or being the best in your career, or having the perfect home, that’s perfectly neat and clean. The trouble is that consistent perfection is impossible. A perfect rose is perfect until its petals wilt. A perfect romantic partner loses his or her pedestal when he or she gets moody, demanding, or critical. Perfection can change quickly, yet it’s still the standard of many people.

It’s human to be imperfect. It’s human to make mistakes.

Striving for perfection reinforces low self-esteem. There will always be a flaw that needs work, a pound to be lost, or a skill to be improved. But you can goof up or have a down day and still love yourself. When I have a bad hair day I don’t feel attractive but it passes quickly. I focus on my good qualities and try to fix it. People make mistakes at work. Good cooks burn food. Few people can keep their bodies perfect. Even slim people get cellulite! Things we can’t control go wrong. You have to work late a lot and can’t clean your apartment the way you’d like. Accept that stuff happens, and it’s okay!

We all have negative days or incidents but don’t need to turn them into a bad life. Relax and let stressing over imperfections go!

If you want to be happy, accept that perfection is wishful thinking. See yourself as a person apart from your problems or body or romantic partner or faults. Don’t wait for perfection to be happy. Why wait forever? People who want to be perfect are usually unhappy. They may have happy moments when things go very right, but it’s not that consistent contentment that comes from inside.

In my DoorMat days I believed I could never be perfect and that kept me feeling low and needing to compensate for my imperfections by pleasing. I tried hard to be a good little girl as a child and grew into an adult who compared herself to airbrushed celebrities that go to great lengths to have their bodies held in by shaping undergarments and treatments that cost of fortune, just to look good on the red carpet. We see these “perfect” specimens and believe we should look like that. Now I know better!

Accepting myself as an imperfect person who tries her best helps me to relax and enjoy life more fully.

Stressing out often over pounds that need to be lost or mistakes made or not having an immaculate home strips the joy out of life. Giving yourself permission to be imperfect allows you to appreciate your good qualities more and live in a more peaceful state. I’ve been at a cocktail party with a friend who couldn’t stop telling how she was thinking about the laundry she needed to do or the hours in the gym to burn the calories she was eating. It ruined her evening, and dampened my spirit to from listening to her talk about herself like a bad girl.

You’re not bad because you enjoy a decadent meal at a party or your home isn’t totally organized or your muscles just won’t bulk up like you see in magazines or someone else got the raise. It’s just how life is. And it’s okay! I love how I feel in my not quite neat apartment and my not slim body and with my tendency to procrastinate. I no longer need to be perfect. And accepting not being perfect allows me to be much happier.

Instead of striving to be perfect, strive to do your best and accept that your best at that moment is okay.

And if you don’t always do your best, that’s okay too. Love yourself enough to be happy in your own skin, warts and all! Relax your need to get everything right and meticulously keep up with chores.. Living with imperfect acceptance eases stress you may put on yourself and lowers your perfect standards. That can keep you smiling more! And accepting yourself in your imperfect skin is a very loving way to treat yourself.
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Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Challenge–a pledge to do something loving for yourself for the next 31 days–and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at http://howdoiloveme.com. Read my 31 Days of Self-Love Posts from 2011 HERE.

Please leave comments under my posts so we can stay connected.

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