So You Want to be Brave?

February 24, 2016

Sometimes, I get this idea that perfection is attainable. I begin to believe that bad days never happen, and that every night with my friends is going to become my favorite with memories I’ll never want to forget. I begin to fall for the idea that every decision I make is going to be the right one. I build up this image in my head of how my life is going to play out – how I need it to play out –  in order to consider myself successful and let myself be happy. I start to think I have to be perfect. That, my friends, is my downfall.

I’ve never been one to judge others for not being “perfect,” yet I’ve never been so kind to myself. The quote that rolls off others’ tongues when I mention the above is “you are your own harshest critic”. As a youngin’, I always compared myself to my two older sisters. They’re both talented, graceful, and admired by many – and I wanted to be that. As I grew older, I kept on that trend of comparison by comparing myself to every figure on TV, to the dancers that stood in front of me at barre in ballet class, and just about any girl I saw while strolling through the school hallways. I wondered if I’d ever be good enough to have someone admire me the way I looked up to them.

I’ve been where every person reading this has been. I saw perfection in everyone else, but never in myself. I sought out methods and developed habits in hopes of making myself “perfect”. I’d eat yogurt for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a week just to look more “perfect”. I’d stay up all night stressing about a test I had taken the day before, wondering if my grade would be “perfect”. I’d wake up in the wee hours of the morning getting ready for school so that the last little curl of my hair would look “perfect”. However, none of these things ever made me feel any better about myself.

Here’s the only thing I’ve learned through my many years of working to be “perfect”: perfection is unattainable.  Now, that idea isn’t necessarily a comfortable one for just about anyone. I, for one, still try to fight them all. Sometimes, though, bravery is giving up the fight.

“But wait, how is giving up being brave?”

Here’s the thing, bravery isn’t always the big leap. Rather, it is the baby steps. It’s the days we decide we don’t need to wear a dress and look “put-together” even if we think someone may judge us for it. It’s the times we see our poor quiz grades and don’t let it ruin our whole week. It’s when we let the world see we aren’t always “perfect,” and we’re okay with it.

I know it’s not easy to embrace imperfection and just sit comfortably in your own skin. It’s a battle I face every. single. day. But don’t allow society to make you become your own harshest critic. Instead, become your own cheerleader. Speak to yourself the way you’d speak to all those people you admire. Remind yourself that what you see as imperfect may be another’s favorite quality about you. Tell that little voice in the back of your head to just shut it’s mouth already!

So yeah, perfection is unattainable. Bad days are inevitable. You will have nights you’d rather forget. Not every decision you make is going to end up being for the better. But that is all okay – being imperfect is okay! You can still find happiness and success without having everything work out the way you originally imagined it to! You were born to be genuinely, unapologetically yourself – not to be “perfect”. Nothing is more gratifying than that fact and living out your truth. Try it out. Challenge your idea of “perfection”. I dare you. 😉