We’ve just returned from a mini holiday at Happening Farm, a magical, eccentric, 500 acre farm that we are lucky enough to be able to visit – the Bear works as farm manager there – a place so beautiful, he even likes to visit on his days off.
Needless to say, staying here is a real treat 🙂
I am far from an expert on Christian theology, and I have little knowledge of scripture (you can blame the Robcast for the fact that I am speaking in this way at all), but it seems to me that Easter represents the fall, the acceptance that you are lost and then the redemption. This is a human story, and I think we all have experienced the essence of it at least once, and likely many more.
We fall/fail/lose our way, we come face to face with the consequences of our actions/blame others, and then we climb our way back into our own self regard/fall further. All of the choices are ours to make. We have to get sick of our own bullshit before anything changes, and that’s a fact.
in Miguel Ruiz’s Mastery of Love, he talks about how necessary self love is to having a loving relationship is with anyone else. Right. We intuitively know that, which is why the rebound relationship, when you are at your most battered and defeated, is hardly ever known to last.
What really stuck with me was the metaphor he used to describe the relationship we actually have with our body and our self, whether we know it or not:
IF YOU LOOK AT YOUR BODY, YOU WILL FIND billions of living beings who depend on you. Every cell in your body is a living being that depends on you. You are responsible for all of those beings. For all those living beings that are your cells, you are God. You can provide what they need; you can love all those living beings, or you can be so mean to them. The cells in your body are completely loyal to you; they work for you in harmony. We can even say they pray to you. You are their God. That is absolutely the truth. Now what are you going to do with this knowledge?
How could we not love our amazing self? How could we ever make choices that could damage these little beings (who are us) in any way? Yet, we do. All the time.
I didn’t always have faith in and respect for myself and my abilities, and a big part of my journey has been learning to make decisions and craft my life in a way that increases my self respect rather than decreases it.
Something happened this week that made me aware that I had come further than I had realised. I made a mistake at work (not my first and likely not my last either). I realised what I had done, laughed with my co-worker about what a dill I was, and then set about fixing it. My co-worker (a lovely Capricorn) looked at me with amusement and a tinge of admiration and said,
“You do things that would be my worst nightmare, and yet you handle it so much better than I ever could.”
“You have to handle these things lightly,” I said, “or you look like an idiot. I know that because I used to be one of those people.”
I thought about it later as I was driving home, and I was sincerely amazed at the silent transformation that I had undergone over the past few years. For most of my life, I was such a serious perfectionist, that I would take any perceived mistake, failure or error in judgment as a deep personal failing as a human being. I would hesitate to try new things in case I failed publicly and lived in fear of being wrong and failing.
I noticed people who took things lightly, who could laugh at themselves, who could make mistakes, and be so sure of their self worth that it didn’t impact their sense of themselves. I observed people who made a mistake, and instead of melting down, set about fixing it. These people were safe and comfortable to be around, simultaneously okay with their own mistakes, as well as others. I wondered how I could be more like that, and started trying it out in areas where I felt safe, like my home and with loved ones. After a while, as it got easier and more natural, I forgot about it.
Until I was reminded by making a public mistake, and how it made me feel. I’m not going to lie – my other thoughts as I was driving home was a feeling that I was a mouthy loose cannon that my workplace was perhaps ill-equipped to handle, and that maybe I should just quit – but these thoughts lasted approximately 5 seconds, instead of the hours/days/weeks as they might have before. And then I was left with a sense of amusement at my silly self and a determination to do better next time.
Can you see how a sense of perfectionism creates such a cruel and unkind relationship with ourselves? To err is human – if we accept the truth of that statement, then is the perfectionist not human? To forgive is divine – if we accept the truth of that statement, then how should we aim to behave?
Perfectionism isn’t all bad – it’s just the desire to do well combined with fear. If we can uncouple fear from our desire to do good work, it can make perfectionists into high achieving people who can accomplish great things. That will never happen if we have fear marching frog-step alongside us. And I am here to tell you that it can be done.
Are you a perfectionist? Is fear of failure your biggest fear?