The Lie of Your Imperfection
3 Questions that Reveal the Truth of Your Inherent Worthiness
I've had to stop listening to people's stories. To their reasons why not. Because of this and that. It's heartbreaking.
And total bs. I bought into my own story for long enough to know it's all mythology. A clever construct of the mind to convince ourselves and others of our imperfection.
The greatest lie we believe is that we are somehow flawed. That we are not beautiful, deserving and worthy creatures born of and meant to live in Joy.
We need to break up with this untruth and see ourselves for the beautiful, worthy, Divine beings that we are. There is nothing wrong with you. Really hear this. Nothing can take away from your innate perfection.
Know that when you speak the words I can’t that these are not words of truth. The true statement is I won’t.
And that's ok! Really. Maybe it's not time, or maybe that's not the path for you. Compassion is a beautiful thing and accepting where we are, right here and right now, in all of its perfection is the most compassionate thing we can do for ourselves.
That 'extra' weight you're carrying? It's perfect. The fears of failure that are challenging you. Yup, perfect. Oh and those doubts of worthiness and acceptance? Again, perfect.
We create these situations in our life to teach us truth. To remind us of what we DO desire. In this way, life happens for us and not to us.
The Lie of Imperfection
If perfection truly is all that exists, then where does this lie of imperfection come from? Why do we judge ourselves, and at times others, so harshly? This lie is rooted in a simple misunderstanding. It is due to the disconnect from our truth. From our story. From Radical Honesty.
When we own our story, understanding deeply that all parts of our experience hold innate value, we are practicing compassion. Compassion is a practice. It is an act of courage that we must choose every day if we wish to live a life of truth, of freedom, and ultimately of Joy.
At one time or another, we’ve all bought into this lie of imperfection. We have looked at ourselves through the lens of judgment and found ourselves lacking. This is due to shame - the fear of not being enough. Of not being worthy.
Cultivating Shame Resilience
Shame is a contagious disease that finds root in places of fear, and of those parts of our experience lacking radical honesty. Shame loooooves when we keep things hidden. It thrives on feelings of separation, and of unworthiness.
If you really want to get the low-down on shame, vulnerability and courage then Brené Brown is your gal. Her research on shame and on what it takes to live a wholehearted life have been such an inspiration to me. Interested in learning more? Check out her website the MANY books she has available - https://brenebrown.com/
As Brené indicates above, the key in taking power away from shame is to speak it. To share your truth and to own your story.
In last week’s post on Radical Honesty, I mentioned the necessity of first holding space for your truth before sharing it with others. This means cultivating compassion, inquiring into truth, and offering acceptance to what arises.
When your truth around shame is revealed, it is essential that you share with those who have “earned the right to hear your story” (Brené Brown). This means that you consciously choose to share with someone, or multiple someones, who have earned your trust, practices empathy and is deeply rooted in their own truth.
You may choose to share more publicly, but know that oftentimes a difficult truth will be triggering to others and may create a response that is unkind. This does not mean that you avoid sharing publicly, but rather that you understand why you may receive the responses you do, and how they do not reflect personally on you.
Speaking shame takes courage. It is not easy to show the parts of yourself that you see as unworthy. And yet, it is the only way to move through the experience of shame and to reclaim your inherent worthiness.
This courage - this speaking shame - is the practice of shame resilience. And I do mean that it is a practice. When shame arises, it is not an easy thing to choose acceptance over judgment. Sharing over withholding. It takes facing the difficult feelings and compassion that embraces ALL parts of you. Even the seemingly unlovable.
Brené Brown speaks of the importance of knowing your shame so that you can get deliberate in responding to the experience. Think back to an experience of shame and ask yourself these questions:
1 - What emotions arose in response to the shame?
2 - Where do I feel shame in my body? What physical responses occur?
3 - Do I have any habits or patterns that arise when I experience shame?
When you are aware of your personal response to shame you have the opportunity to respond in a more conscious, purposeful way. Understanding your shame cycle allows you to choose the practice of courage and to cultivate resilience in the face of shame.
A note on the definition of Perfection
In this writing, I define perfection by its literal meaning - “the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects” (dictionary.com)
I am speaking of our Divine perfection. Of the truth that all is in Divine order and that what we claim as lacking perfection is actually just a misunderstanding of our inherent worthiness.
Can you Love yourself how you are?
What I want to know is - even with the shame, the fears, the I’m not good enoughs, can you love yourself how you are? Can you see all of these things and face the icky feelings that make you want to hide? Can you speak to yourself with kindness regardless of how unlovable you feel?
Loving yourself is the greatest act of compassion. It is also essential for realizing the freedom, the Joy, the love and connection that we all seek. When we learn how to Love ourselves, we learn what it means to Love another.
Loving ourselves isn’t about acting perfect - being the version of ourselves that we believe others will accept. Love is about being perfect. Recognizing the perfection that we are, at our core. It is the essence of our being. The truth of our perfection.
3 Questions that Reveal the Truth of Your Inherent Worthiness
Ok, so we’ve been talking a lot about the truth of your perfection and ultimately your inherent worthiness. How well do you feel you’re doing with upholding your sense of worthiness? There are 3 questions you can ask to find out:
1 - How do you speak to yourself?
2 - Do you honour your needs, wants and desires?
3 - Do you uphold your boundaries?
1 - How do you Speak to Yourself?
A major part of compassion and of embracing our perfection is the way that we speak to ourselves. Negative self-talk can be one of the most destructive forces that sabotage our sense of worthiness. When we choose to practice conscious self-talk and impeccability with our words, we uphold the truth of our worthiness.
Don Miguel Ruiz, in his book The Four Agreements speaks about impeccability with your word being the first and most important agreement we must make with ourself if we wish to live a fulfilled and happy life. He also shares that the words must not be used to speak against yourself or others. The word holds immense power and must be honoured at all times.
This impeccability with your word is a follow-up to Radical Honesty. It is the speaking of truth, and only truth. When we see that we hold a habit of speaking to ourselves unkindly, we must look to the truth that lies beyond our judgment and self-criticism.
When we see truth for what it is, we have no choice but to speak to ourselves with kindness and compassion. The lies of imperfection are revealed when truth is known and only kindness, only compassion, exist.
Just like with all things on this path of self-actualization, speaking compassionately to ourselves takes practice. We may be so used to judging and criticizing that we don’t even notice that we do it.
And so, your first step is awareness. Paying attention to the times when you feel not good enough and listening to the inner dialogue you have going on. Anything less than kindness means that our self-talk could use some work.
The next step is replacing negative self-talk with positive self-talk. This may feel a bit clunky at first if you’re not used to speaking to yourself with kindness. One of the things that really helped me with this process is imagining that I am speaking to myself as a very small child. I use simple words that demonstrate my appreciation for the difficulty I am experiencing and offer words of support meant to uplift and remind of just how special I am.
2 - Do you Honour your Needs, Wants and Desires?
When we see ourselves as anything less than perfect, we often compromise our needs, wants and desires. How could we possibly see these as valid if we don’t see ourselves as worthy of them?
When worthiness is intact, our needs, wants and desires are honoured. We see them as worthy of being heard and of being upheld. Even if that means that conflict arises in relationship.
In relationship, we are constantly trying to balance the needs of us and the other. And oftentimes, one person tends to outweigh the other in terms of importance and priority. I wouldn’t say that this is intentional, but rather a reflection of each person’s individual belief in their inherent worthiness.
I can feel my hackles rising with this one. I question whether the person that tends to outweigh the other in terms of their needs being met is just being more selfish. But, I can honestly say that when I look at it through the lens of Radical Honesty, selfishness has nothing to do with it.
Even the word selfish has a ring of untruth to it. The root of the word is Self. Focus on self seems to be the meaning, is it not? When I inquire into this, it seems that this is exactly what we are working towards. Learning to own our story, our needs and our sense of personal responsibility.
Now, I’m not talking about having your needs met at the expensive of another. But rather, as a means of expressing worthiness. It is about speaking your needs, wants and desires in an attempt to foster connection and intimacy. It is about sharing your truth.
The difficulty of sharing your needs, wants and desires is most highlighted in intimate relationships, but may also show up in family relationships, friendships and even work-related dynamics. It can feel very uncomfortable to speak up about what it is that you want when there is a fear you will be met with judgment or resistance.
But speaking up is the key. This is how you honour your needs, wants and desires. How can another even know what it is that you need/want/desire if you don’t even tell them?
Once you’ve communicated, this doesn’t mean that it is the other person’s responsibility to give you what you’ve shared. In fact, this really isn’t the point of sharing. Sure, we may ask for help at times and truly hope that our partner, friend, family etc. will be able to offer the support we seek, but it isn’t a guarantee.
We speak our truth for US. Not for them. Being Radically Honest is how we practice worthiness. Really, it is OUR own responsibility to give ourselves what we need, want and desire.
3 - Do you Uphold your Boundaries?
What is ok for you, and what isn’t ok for you in relationships? If you don’t know how to answer this question, it’s likely you haven’t taken the time to determine what your boundaries are. Boundaries are the essential agreements we have that define relationship and upholding strong boundaries is a reflection of belief in our worthiness.
When we lack strong boundaries, we often say yes to things that we don’t actually feel comfortable with. We put the needs, wants and desires of another in front of our own. This compromises the integrity of our connection with personal truth and also limits the intimacy we can foster within relationship.
Let’s take a moment to define what a boundary is, and also how it differs from a barrier. We often get the 2 confused. Barriers are a defence mechanism, separating us from the other. A boundary is a basic guideline for how you want to be treated. You can think of barriers like a wall that you build to protect yourself, and boundaries like the door that allows entry.
Boundaries prevent connection, honesty, and may even build resentment. Boundaries are about respect. Respect for you and respect for the other. Boundaries are clearly communicated agreements of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Boundaries are about staying in your own business and holding yourself accountable for sharing your truth, for being Radically Honest.
You uphold your boundaries when you clearly communicate your guidelines and then follow through on any action relating to breaches of your boundary. The key here is that you MUST first communicate your boundaries. If you don’t communicate them, then how can another know that they are important to you?
Once you’ve communicated a boundary and it has not been respected, it is ESSENTIAL that you address it directly if you wish to uphold your sense of worthiness. Every time that you fail to communicate a breach of agreement causes damage to the foundation of your relationship. It may seem ok for now, but over time and with further breaches the structure becomes unsteady and may even collapse altogether.
The Truth is Simple - Practicing Worthiness
We’ve now looked at the lie of your imperfection, how to reveal the truth of your inherent worthiness and touched on practices to support truth. The practices really are the key here. Without practice it’s just an idea. There is no real or lasting change to any habit or belief pattern that is creating suffering in our life.
So, get Radically Honest, speak your shame, offer yourself words of compassion, honour your needs, wants and desires, and uphold your boundaries. It is all important. And it is a journey. Be compassionate with yourself as you practice, understanding that it takes time and ongoing awareness to re-pattern habits that have taken a lifetime to build!