The Break-Up

Dear Inner-Perfectionist,

We are breaking up. You are leaving. It’s not you, it’s me. It’s the real me that has made an exit plan for you. You need to go. I know you think that you are praised, that you keep me going on a path to working hard. I know you think that you exemplify strength and create “a job well done” but, you are confused. You cause havoc, pressure, confusion, and negativity. You are a compulsive liar. You have always set an unattainable expectation, then you cast judgement for not reaching that expectation. You are toxic. You are abusive.

All those times you said I couldn’t make it without you were lies. They were your manipulation and dysfunction keeping me away from my truth. For all of the times you dressed yourself up in the illusion of beauty, intellectual success, award-winning partner, teacher and friend; there was always a price to pay when I believed you. You always had to “be right”.

You have led me on for far too long but I, as an Emerging Yogi, simply don’t have space for you in my life anymore. I don’t wish you well because you don’t even deserve that. I have to show up for myself and others now and you don’t have a place in that.

It’s true, I am leaving you for someone else. I am leaving you for me. You are being replaced by Acceptance, Compassion, Mistakes, Lessons, Empathy, Grace, Boundaries, and Positivity. I don’t care if you understand (you never were the understanding type anyways).

Never to return again,

The Emerging Yogi.

It’s true, like many others I encounter, I was (I say it past-tense becuase…well, as you can see, we broke up) a victim of perfectionism. It’s an easy pattern to fall into in our society where falsehoods are put on a pedestal. Last Wednesday, I was feeling like the “emerging yogi” in me was emerging, I mean nose-diving into some serious self-judgement. I was at my Graduate Class that started at 5:30pm and it was pushing 8:30 pm. I had been up since 4am, wasn’t feeling great and I messed up on an assignment that was due. I went head first into that old dark place of perfectionism and began to beat myself up left and right until I could barely hold my head upright. When I was finally able to drive home, I felt completely worthless. And then, I began to think about what I would say to my child, a friend or to a student who was in that situation and things like, “it’s not that big of a deal”, “really? that’s what’s got you so upset?”, “go home and relax”, “it’s ok, tomorrow is a new day”, “let me give you a hug” began to pop into my mind.

The perfectionist experience makes it so that we judge ourselves far worse than anyone else who loves us would judge us. This is a prime example of where the work of yoga has helped me beyond what I could ever imagine. Sure, there are times I scroll through Instagram and think “wow, I wish I could get into that pose” and that sneaky perfectionist tries to put its claws in me. But then I remember: my practice is my practice. Within that practice, I have no room to judge myself or to allow any negativity because it’s about me, my breath, and my present moment. It’s called a practice because I show up everyday with myself…my sloppy/tired/angry/sad/happy/fearful self. The positivity is in the practice of it, the vulnerability of it. I have no ultimate goal in my practice but to do just that: practice. To unwrap myself, peel back my layers and listen to my core, my heart and to share my experience with others. The deeper I move away from the Perfectionist, the more beauty and comfort I find within myself and within others. And so, I encourage you to cut that Perfectionist loose, send it on its way, make space to find the authentic you and let it shine…it really is beautiful.

I leave you with some imperfect pictures of me in my imperfect but beautiful, practicing poses.

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