One of the most rewarding things about traveling and experiencing a new culture is the space it allows for reflection and new perspectives. Through encounters with a plethora of unique individuals and customs that challenge the best of us, we are given the opportunity to take a good look at some of our own customs and built-in beliefs. Through my own reflections and experiences, I have become increasingly aware of an assumption in many of us that there is something we must improve upon and that we must improve it quickly.
A multi-billion dollar industry has been built around the idea of improvement – improving our personalities, improving our appearance, improving our love lives, improving our careers, etc etc. You name it, you can improve it. Everything from self-help books, to pills, to miracle mystic healers – our society is founded on the notion that there is something about each one of us that must be fixed or improved upon.
As I walk through my local book store I can’t help but notice the plethora of books asking: “are you suffering from anxiety? Could you lose 10 pounds? Do you feel stressed and worried about the future?” And I think to myself, well as a matter of fact, yes. But do we wonder whether our worry is symptomatic of a much bigger issue like the constant pressure to reach some undefined state of perfection? Probably not. We are told we have a problem, and we are told we can fix it quickly with a few short steps, a seven day diet, or a visit to the pharmacy.
I am certainly one who has tried many magic fixes. From the books, to the pills, to the Shaman healer – that is the society in which I have been brought up. But I came to a realization a few years ago, and it is quite a simple one: there is nothing to be fixed and there is nothing to be improved upon. Once we accept ourselves for exactly who we are, and exactly where we are in life, all the change and improvement we have been looking for in a quick fix happens naturally. We can’t buy the fix, we already are the fix. We are the fix when we are completely ourselves, when we are completely authentic, and when we accept that we are already perfect, in our imperfection. Surrender is the most powerful medicine of all.
I will leave you with a quote and some questions:
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
What would it mean or look like for you to be completely authentic? How would it feel? What would happen if you just stopped trying to be perfect?