Social Perfectionism

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplashlens


“I am imperfect and yet my imperfections, like any great work of art, are what makes me a masterpiece.” Author Unknown

I heard a new term on the news last week, “social perfectionism”, new to me at least. I believe the term has been around for a little while. It is based on the idea that how we view the world is influenced by unrealistic expectations of what we view on social media. We strive for the perfect job, perfect home, perfect body, perfect significant other, perfect health, etc.

With apps we can retouch, reshape, and filter our photos covering perceived flaws, sharpening the picture, or distorting the image so much that we alter it completely putting forth a false narrative. Although the internet has only been around for about thirty years, the idea of distorting an image is much older. About two thousand years earlier, Patanjali writes about this in the Yoga Sutras:

viparyayo mithya-jnanam atad-rupa-pratishtham (1:8)
False knowledge comes from misperception.

Ancient Yogis refer to a veil (maya) that colors our perception, just like an Instagram filter, the filters in our minds can alter our reality as well. The mind is influence by our upbringing, cultural, beliefs, values, likes and dislikes, relationships, societal expectations, and past experiences. If we can clear away the filter of misperception…lift the veil…we can see our true nature.

Why do we strive for perfection in the first place? We should embrace our perceived flaws and imperfections. Joyce Meyers describes it beautifully, “Each of us has our own unique flaws, like cracked pots. If a light is put within a flawless pot, and then covered, no one is able to see the light within the pot. Perfect pots are not able to reveal internal light to illuminate the way for others. God chooses to shine through imperfect, cracked pots.”

Emerge Renewed and Refreshed

Weekly Challenge (Omwork) – There is an old story from the East that I would like to share with you.

It seems God had just created human beings. Realizing that He had made a terrible mistake, God called a council of the elders to get some help. When the elders were gathered, God reported, “I have just created humans and now I don’t know what I am going to do. They will always be talking to me and wanting things from me and I won’t ever get any rest.” Upon hearing God’s dilemma, the elders made several suggestions telling God he could hide on Mount Everest, or the moon, or deep in the earth. God responded hopelessly to all of these suggestions saying, “No, humans are resourceful; eventually they will find me there.” Finally, one elder walked up to God and whispered something in his ear. Then God shouted in delight, “That’s it! I’ll hide inside of each human; they will never find me there!” According to the yogis, we suffer because we forget who we really are…the Divine “hiding” inside.

Throughout the month, spend time in reflection, meditation and self-study to gain new insights into your life, to shed your foliage like a plant or shrub getting ready to emerge from under the frost refreshed and renewed when Spring arrives!

flower bud

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt

New Day

“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Renowned Zen master and poet

How do you begin your day? What do you do to set the tone or direction you would like the day to unfold in? Maybe you set an intention before your feet hit the ground running, or perhaps you pause to practice gratitude, or sit quietly and pray.

Can you shift your mindset to gratitude for the gift you have been given of a new day? The above quote would make an amazing intention…

I will live fully in each moment and look at all beings with eyes of compassion.

When you wake up tomorrow, smile at the twenty-four brand new hours before you that are waiting to be filled!

Surrender Control

“Jump into your life with your whole heart, trusting that you will fly to God!” Deborah Adele
contentmentThe final step for living your yoga off of your mat is Surrender (Ishvara pranidhana). The focus is on letting go. Sometimes the best way to handle a challenge is to have faith in a higher plan and surrender control. Surrender comes from a place of strength, rather than weakness.
Set aside time this week to practice Shavasana or corpse pose. It is the posture of surrender. There is nothing for us to do. We are asked to just lie there, releasing any tension in our bodies, letting go of effort, and trusting that the breath will come and the body will renew itself. This is one of the most important practices we can do. It is here that we begin to learn the meaning of letting go of all the ways we physically and mentally fight with life.

Discovery Yourself

“There is a place in you where there is perfect peace. There is a place in you where nothing is impossible.
self study
There is a place in you where the strength of God abides.” Author Unknown
Self -study (Svadhyaya) leads to self-discovery. What brings you joy? What makes you happy? What do you want to contribute during your time on this planet? How can you be of service? More fulfilled? Connected? Get to know yourself (journaling, meditation, attend classes, workshops or spiritual lectures). Find someone to be your guide (a teacher, mentor, therapist, or talk to those on a similar path who are further along in their journey).
Set aside time in your day or week for self-reflection. Choose a time and place that works for you to be undisturbed. Commit to scheduling this time for yourself (maybe even adding it to your calendar).