Unbeknownst to most well-meaning citizens everywhere, there is a secret society, of which many of us are unwittingly unaware participants. This pervasive cult masquerades in plain sight underneath polished shallow facades like “should,” “good” and “acceptable.”
From all corners of the globe, its members are oddly revered, studied and intensely imitated. Even awareness of the dark illusory nature and obviously idiotic mental framework of this dangerous philosophy can’t entirely save us from its clutches.
I'm talking about a plague of epic proportions here, called Perfectionism.
Our world culture teaches us to always strive for the unattainable over there, where everything will finally be perfect if we can just get there somehow. Every part of our being is subject to this horrid assessment; our physical, emotional and mental elements — even our spiritual self is pulled into the black abyss of “not good enough.”
If you have a decent job but it’s not as impressive as the careers of your peers, you should work tirelessly toward getting a better one. If your phone isn’t the newest/high-tech version, purchase one that is. If your wardrobe doesn’t meet the proposed requirements of so-called polite society, good grief, you need to replace it A.S.A.P.
If your face or body doesn’t match what certain social groups believe is attractive, alter it with makeup, diets, spanks, grueling exercise or a wealth of the newest “miracle” products. If you’re single, there must be something wrong with you — this is the worst kind of problem EVER and you must do everything in your power to fix this horrible affliction.
If your meditation practice doesn’t live up to what the popular gurus of spirituality describe, for the love of all that’s holy, you better up your game and try harder! Likewise, if you don’t attend church every Sunday and model your entire life in the manner your pastor decrees, then you are a sinner and need to remedy the situation immediately in order for your soul to be accepted into God’s good graces.
If your parents don’t approve of your lifestyle, this must mean that you aren’t a good daughter or son and should do everything you can make them happy, even at the cost of your own happiness (insert heavy sarcasm here).
I don’t say these things to incite offense to anyone’s perspectives; I’m trying to paint an overall picture. Do you see a recurring theme here?
Perfection is an illusion — a farcical and patently unattainable goal, no matter who asks for it.
The multi-armed octopus of the media (news, magazines, movies, tv shows, fashion, etc.) has historically been especially unkind to the female gender, with their constant portrayal of airbrushed or photoshopped imagery, sexist story lines and physical objectification, never mind their absolutely insane standards of fitness and beauty.
This isn’t to say that men have been left out of this media circus — oh no, their gender is subjected to a similar supernatural measuring stick of implied strength, dominance, prowess and external power in all areas of life. Additionally, crying or showing any kind of deep emotion is deemed weak and emasculating.
The more we strive for and attain the “next best thing” we think we need, the more we see how even this newest achievement doesn’t give us true fulfillment. Therefore we assume we must need something else, presumably that thing over there; then we will be happy. When we finally lose 50 pounds, then we will love ourselves.
On and on this painful merry-go-round spins. It’s usually not until you’ve done all you can to squish yourself into the box that society thinks you should be in, years and years of playing the role designated to you — by virtue of your gender, race, financial status and religion or spiritual practice, of course — that you start to feel disenchanted with this setup.
The bloom is officially off the rose.
Sooner or later you begin to realize that there’s still something missing in the formula promoted by the media and other social constructs, even with the so-called “perfect” values in place. You begin to look around and see that almost no one else who is following this generic roadmap is happy or satisfied either.
This unsettling realization will inevitably goad you onto a wildly unique and often ruthlessly criticized journey of self-discovery, which will unerringly lead you to one conclusion:
The validation we’re taught to seek outside of ourselves can only be found within.
There is no “over there” over there. There is only here and one truth that matters: inner truth.
Authenticity to self.
The more we try to follow what others tell us we should be doing, instead of following our own heart and intuition, the more unhappy and unfulfilled we become. The more we attempt to perfect ourselves, rather than identifying what we believe to be best for us, to cultivate our own independent beliefs, the bigger the yawning gap of inauthenticity within us becomes. The more inauthentic we feel, the more things like depression, hopelessness, low self-esteem and victim mentality sneak in and sabotage our wellbeing.
Thankfully, there’s a simple method we can use to stop this perfectionist trap in its tracks:
Activate your own inner compass.
When faced with any decision, behavior or recurring thought pattern, look to your own inner guidance system for the answers. Each of us has access to a direct link to our spiritual self, which is directly connected to Source. The spark of the Divine within you has the perfect solution to any problem you could possibly encounter — and we can open the door to this communication simply by checking in with our heart in any given moment.
Let’s say for example that you struggle with low self-worth, especially concerning body image and find yourself obsessing over how you look all the time. Check in with your heart center... put your hand over your heart chakra (the approximate middle of your chest, usually a couple inches above the nipple line) and bring your awareness there... when you are obsessing about your body image, what does your heart tell you?
Is the feeling there one of love or one of fear? Does it feel expansive and good? Or does it feel oppressive and limiting?
The answer will be easy and immediate. Whenever you get that negative, oppressive feeling in your heart, you know that whatever you’re putting your energy toward in that moment is not in your best interest. It also tells you that the belief currently in operation is probably a false one. Beliefs that are in alignment with our truth always feel expansive and joyful.
Food for thought: are you here to be perfect, or are you here to LIVE?
Would you rather spend your energy freaking out over how imperfect you are or put that energy toward living life to the fullest?
Here’s another thing to consider — would you treat your child or best friend to the same scrutiny that you’re subjecting yourself to? My guess is, your answer is unequivocally “No, of course not!”
The question you need to ask yourself then, is why you feel the need to be so harsh with yourself?
Where did this idea come from?
Chances are, it’s not from you.
More than likely, you unintentionally picked it up from your parents’ belief system or somewhere else in the world. It could also be an ancestral or past-life energy that you’ve carried into this one. Either way, this directive is worth examining more closely. Anything that makes your life less joyful should be thoroughly explored — is it worth continuing? Is there something more aligned you can choose instead?
Some useful mantras to reroute negative patterns of self-talk/self-image/self-worth:
My authentic self is good enough.
Done is better than perfect.
I am a powerful, limitless & infinite being of light and love!
This body & this life are only a small, temporary part of who I am.
I’m so grateful I get to have this body that allows me to experience life!
Am I aligned with fear or love right now?
Whenever you feel yourself sliding into the downward spiral of “not good enough,” use one of these mantras to snap yourself out of the tumble.
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day, one of the biggest days for love in our modern culture, BE KIND TO YOURSELF!
Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have.
Instead of looking for external love, go inward and receive Divine love.
Don’t just give love to others — give it to yourself too! Sink into the belief that you are exactly how you are meant to be, and whatever phase you find yourself in right now is exactly where you’re meant to be ❤︎
Be your own kind of beautiful. Do things your own way. Make choices that light you up inside. Create your beliefs based on your own intuition. Cultivate and follow your own opinion based on how it feels in your heart.
BTW, if you’d like to learn about the history of Saint Valentine and how this holiday came to be, check out this article. It’s kind of shocking...
May your inner compass illuminate and activate truth within you,
P.S. If you feel inspired by this post, please show your support by using the heart icon on the bottom righthand corner, or comment below. You can also reach out to me on social media @starsongmaiden ❤︎