As published in Sixty and Me
An old friend of mine from over a decade asked me to dance the other night. I have danced Argentine tango for over 20 years. However, each time a beautiful and elegant dancer asks me to dance, I am honored and full of anticipation and joy. I also wanted those next four tangos to be danced perfectly.
“What’s wrong?” my friend asked.
“Nothing,” I replied. “I’m simply happy with anticipation of our dance.”
“That’s it?” he responded. “Happy.”I smiled with twinkle stars in my eyes. “Perfectly happy.”
At that moment, dancing perfectly felt inauthentic. Dancing with joy was more important. I realized that to be happy and be perfect at the same time were not compatible states. I said to myself, “I’m perfect the way I am – and perfectly happy about the way I am.”
What is that amazing ingredient that makes you perfect? It’s everything you do that makes you perfect. For me, it’s not just about dancing tango. It is also about grocery shopping in the middle of an Austin afternoon when my skin burns from the heat, or when I’m out of breath from pushing my bike up a hill covered in gravel rocks, or when I am not wearing eye makeup.
My boyfriend pointed out something interesting to me while we were on a road trip recently. I told him I couldn’t go out until I put my “eyes” on. He said he hoped I wasn’t doing it for him because I looked perfect just the way I am. So, I didn’t have to be perfectly made up to be perfect? Who knew?
It’s About Our Fears
The fear that something won’t be perfect shrouds you in a kind of negative protection. Your standard for what is perfect isn’t attainable by you or anyone else. Fear creeps in when you think, “I won’t do it right, I won’t get there, I won’t be pretty enough.” This can then lead to procrastination. Fears can be crippling to living life in the positive lane.
What if we believed that everything about us was perfect from the beginning and we didn’t even know it? What if all those years of struggle to be gloriously perfect were simply a made up movie that played in our minds and had no relevance to our real life?
Perfection is a Subjective State
What you think is perfect might appear mediocre to someone else. Even those who proudly wear the badge “I’m a perfectionist” are living their own definition of what it means to be perfect. Have you ever said to someone, “It’s not perfect but it’s the best I could do”?
You just need to believe and accept that it’s perfect. You create your own reality. It’s your own mindset that determines what is perfect and what isn’t.
The antidote to wanting to be perfect is to be vulnerable. It’s human nature to turn away from vulnerability because you are afraid of being hurt, ridiculed, misunderstood, taken advantage of, or let down.
You are afraid of being vulnerable because the mask of perfection you wear will fall off, and people will see you for who you really are and they might not like you. In time, you’ll be living with bundles of insecurity. That’s no fun.
So, I offer you a challenge: Please don’t fear failure or embarrassment and put on a suit of armor of self-protection because you’ll lose the opportunity to bring joy into your lives.
Perfection Seems to Come with Age
Why do I now feel more perfect as I grow older, grayer, fingers no longer strong enough to twist off caps without effort? I mused about how I felt the last night of the tango festival. I briefly wondered how I had arrived at such a delicious state of “perfection.”
I figured it had been years in the making sprinkled with conscious and unconscious waves of joy. It came from having the confidence to take risks and make glorious mistakes. It was a result of plenty of leaps of faith, lots of acceptance and gratitude for the way I turned out in life.
I am happy that I am who I am and no one else was responsible for that except me. I was the one who discovered all the jewels in the being called Joan. Those gems that made me laugh, made me ponder with wonderment and leave a footprint on this planet.
Beneath the clothing, the hair, the makeup and other adornments, all of you are beautiful and perfect. And inside your being is a jewel or a pearl of infinite value – perfection. How you come to believe in the idea of personal perfection is the journey, is the growth and is the transformation.
The truth of your perfection comes in knowing the truth about yourself. It is a result of finding your energy and light and reflecting your true sense of self with love and inspiration.
Do you feel you are perfect just the way you are? What life experiences do you think have contributed to your acceptance of yourself?
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author of 60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. Her new book, I’m The Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Strong & Smart at Any Age, is now on Amazon. Check out Joan’s website joanfrancesmoran.com and follow on Twitter @joanfmoran.