Every year, if not every day, (or every hour?) we kick ourselves for not being “better”.
I should eat better, I should exercise more, I should write more, I should read more, I should watch TV less, I should make more money, I should clean more, I should be in a relationship, I should be in a better relationship, I should be a better daughter, I should be a better parent, I should be this, I should be that, and on and on and on.
Ironically, nothing stunts growth and change more than us telling ourselves over and over again what’s wrong with us.
If trying to change worked by you going over your flaws over and over again, we’d all be perfect by now.
You ever seen this scenario of a fly trying to get out by buzzing around a windowpane endlessly? You keep telling the fly that the pane right above is open. All this fly has to do is fly just a few inches that way and it’s free. Unable to see the pane of glass, it keeps hitting it over and over again, never getting out.
That’s self-improvement and us: the lists of “problems” that we hit ourselves over the head with is that pane of glass. You can’t get past it. Every time you tell yourself what’s wrong with you, you’re further away from the open window.
But if listing off trouble spots doesn’t work, what does? Surely we have things about ourselves that need some fixing!
I theorize that the closer you can get to complete, unconditional, unabashed, unreserved, unapologetic, self-love, the closer you get to that window pane that is actually open.
Yes, to be clear: I’m telling you to consider regarding yourself as already perfect.
This idea will scare the bejeeses out of most of us if we consider it for real. So let me put it this way: you tried the lists of problems and resolutions and you’re still not where you’d like to be. Humor me and try something different? Just to change things up? Even if it’s wrong? When you buzz around the same damn window pane and you’re still not out, it’s a good idea to try anything else, even if it doesn’t “feel right”. When you go against an old habit, it never feels right. You need to jump into the abyss on faith. And if no faith is found, jump out of curiosity. What if you did decide this year that you’re already perfect, just the way you are?
Why should you think you’re perfect? For one thing, you have a human mind. That already makes you the most complex thing in the known universe.
There is simply nothing more interesting that we know of than the human mind. And you have one. This automatically makes you the most complex and interesting thing in the world.
The average Joe and Jane, have “some 200 billion nerve cells, which are connected to one another via hundreds of trillions of synapses. Each synapse functions like a microprocessor, and tens of thousands of them can connect a single neuron to other nerve cells. In the cerebral cortex alone, there are roughly 125 trillion synapses, which is about how many stars fill 1,500 Milky Way galaxies.” (Ralph Buttigieg, discoveryenterprise.blogspot.com)
Did you get that? Your mind is more vast than our entire galaxy, times 1500. And you’re walking around thinking about what’s wrong with you…?
The stupidest thing you ever did do required the complex connectivity of trillions of neurons. Imagine what went into some of the average stuff you’ve done. You’re breathtaking.
Sometimes in my writing classes I talk about how much we love characters who are deeply flawed and just don’t give a shit. It’s why we love the Godfather, and Homer Simpson, and every character that Melissa McCarthy ever played. She steals the show in Bridesmaids because she’s that person we all long to be: someone so utterly wack and utterly unapologetic about it. You’ll never find her character at the self-improvement section of a book store. That’s why I use her as my role model.
If you never changed a single thing about yourself, never again, not a thing, you’d still be the most stunning, interesting, awe-inspiring thing in our known universe.
It just doesn’t get any sexier than you.
This year, postpone your New-Year’s resolutions to June 30th. That’s six months from now, exactly the half-way mark.
I promise your flaws will still be there without you going over them in your head. In six months, if you still want to, you can go back to your lists of self-flagellation and sign up for a gym membership.
But for the first six months of the year, consider the possibility that you are already worthy of a million fans. If I personally could pull it off, I would fill a stadium with cheering fans and give you a standing ovation, for all the stupid crap, and average crap, and every-once-in-a-while kind of creative crap that you’ve done.
There isn’t a single human being anywhere out there who is like you. You are unique in all the world. You are a treasure and a gem. Anyone who knew you for real, and I mean for real, would be madly in love with you. Somewhere in you, you know this is true. You know that if someone out there got to know the real, real you, all the way to the core, they would be in love with you.
I dare you to develop a crazed mad crush on yourself.
Don’t worry about being a narcissist. The more you like yourself for real, no strings attached, the easier it will become to like other people. The kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you’ll be towards others. All the harshness and criticism and disappointments that you dish out on the people you care most about, are just a fraction of the harshness and criticism that you dish out at yourself. It’s a closed windowpane. As long as you respect the criticism, you remain stuck.
This year, be as much yourself as possible. This has to begin with you liking yourself, no reservation, no limitations, just as you are, right now, this moment, with your exact hair, and weight, and abysmal income, and un-partnered existence, or questionably-partnered existence, with all the crappy things you’ve done to people, and all the crappy things you’ve let people do to you, with your unrealized ambitions, and all your unmet goals, and the fifty resolutions you didn’t live up to the past fifty years, with all your addictions, and all the rest of it: you are perfect. You are enough. No improvement necessary.
Happy New Year!