Shifts. Changes. Untangling. Unfolding.
A while back, I let go of the idea of perfection. Not everything needed to be just right to be great. In fact, one of my teachers told me in college, “Perfection is the enemy of done.” Isn’t that true. But this idea of perfection and things having to be a certain way – that can cut you off big time from being present. Perfection lives in the land of the future – the way things have to be in order for them to be. This idea is sexy – trust me I used to be infatuated with it – but there’s an ugliness that exists deep underneath it. That ugliness is this…
Perfection is a projection of a constrained and insecure ego that must force itself upon uncertainty in order to demand specific results.
But we never really achieve perfection do we? Nothing is ever perfect. So what the hell?
We can always do a little bit better every single day. Leave people a little bit better. Work a little bit harder. Continue to keep our focus etc. There are always little opportunities for 1 degree of change that can add up over time. But this is not a search for perfection. It’s not also being so incredibly hard on ourselves that we take ourselves out of the game. It’s not shaming ourselves or others. It’s about personal deepening. Understanding that we have opportunities to expand on this thing called life. That’s what makes the day to day so exciting for me. There are so many opportunities to learn and to experience new things, new sensations, new ways of showing up. Demanding yourself to stay 100% restricted to specific way of doing things can become incredibly dangerous. Once again, that projection of perfection. Now to be fair, I will say that routine is a great thing – I have developed routines for myself that really allow me to function at a high level throughout the day.
But when we cement ourselves into our routines without any negotiation – or even worse…start removing ourselves piece by piece – constricting ourselves, dissolving relationships, and avoiding life at all costs (even though it’s going to happen to us no matter what) – we enter into a very dangerous place. And this is what I want to talk about – because I’ve done this many times and have luckily experienced a different way of doing things.
Life’s challenges are going to come at you no matter what. Maybe this is what pitching taught me the most. Sometimes you are going to make your best pitches and you’re going to give up extra bases. Sometimes it’s going to happen back to back. You can curse and yell at the fact that it happened, or tip your cap. Your best got beaten…but it shouldn’t stop you from giving everything to this next pitch…with conviction and determination.
What ends up happening in life though is that we get knocked on our butts and one of two things can happen. We either lay flat on our backs and look up to the sky and get back up – although shaky at times…or we shrink, curl up into a ball, and constrict. This constriction when things are not going your way is one of the most dangerous and harmful things you can do. Been there – done that…time and time again. Removing yourself from uncertainty actually only creates more pain in the long run. Removing your support mechanisms, pieces of the foundation, and social circle – while in the short run may have perceived benefits – is actually going to do permanent damage. Sometimes, irreparable damage. Essentially, when things go badly or you are under great amounts of stress, putting up barbed wire is the LAST thing you should be doing. What’s the other way?
This, by far, was one of the hardest things for me to do. When I am under stress, my act is “I can do it all by myself! I don’t need anyone!” Yikes…talk about that inner critic going wild. My ego rages and I move into a place of screw it all. I have had to do some serious work with this and actually forced myself into softening at times. Breathing helps. Meditating helps. But the thing that helps the most? Letting yourself ease into other peoples hands. You have developed the relationships around you for a reason – but relationships really take off when you genuinely and authentically allow others to care for you, to take care of you, and for you to trust fully that they have your best interests in mind. I’ve had to do that – and as uncomfortable as it has been sometimes – it has drastically deepened and added so much value + trust into the relationships that I have. In this day and age, vulnerability seems to be such a frightening concept to many. But really, when it comes down to it, people want to feel important and valued. Look at all the things people do to try to make this a reality?! Giving yourself to someone else when you are down and out is a gift to them. You may think you are being a nuisance…but you’re not. In fact, most people are incredibly moved by the fact that you would come to them for their help – I know that I am when it happens to me.
You are not being weak by not being able to handle everything yourself. You can’t be everything in this world. You can’t be strong, loving, passionate, enthusiastic, goal oriented, driven, determined, joyful…all the time. But what you can do is seek out those who can bring you up – those who can inject energy, will, and enthusiasm into your life…who can remind you of who you are when you sometimes forget, who can help you out of the darkness because they love you to bits, who can hold your hand when you need it, or who can wrap you up in their arms and allow you to cry on their chest when you’ve been strong for too long. Those moments do not make you weak. Those moments…as hard as they may be sometimes, allow you to create depth with others…and more importantly, give you the must needed support…but most of all…allow you to work through things instead of run from them. There are people out there who wouldn’t mind you crying on them every single day. A long time ago I wasn’t that person – but now, I understand that a gift I can give another is to be there for them through their darkest. I can love people, deeply, through their darkest times. In fact, that is one of the things I know that I do the best. Because as much as my ego hurts sometimes, in the end, love always prevails in this heart of mine. That’s why I can be there for people – no matter the situation – no matter the time since spoken – no matter the distance…because down to the core, I am deeply rooted in love. That’s what it all comes down to for me. No other trait functions as more of a foundation.
You will be afraid to make footsteps at times. Allow others to carry you.
What I have found time and time again, and more recently in talking to many people is that everyone really has some things that they desperately want to share with someone who cares. Despite anything that the surface shows, people are always so much deeper than they appear. That’s why you should never analyze someone to the shallowness of their mind. You may be able to get an idea of what’s going on through the singing of their body language and some of their words, but what’s actually really happening…well, all you can do is leave yourself as open as possible to have people come to you when they feel the time is right. That, right there, has opened so many doors for me. That, right there, has allowed me to help people…time and time again…begin to walk into places they never thought they could. That, right there, makes my heart full.
– Evan Sanders