You Are Already Perfect

How do we accept ourselves as we are, yet continue to improve?

I am a meditation teacher, and there’s a concept that I love to introduce to my students. It’s simple, yet controversial, and it always creates an interesting dialogue. I say this to them:

“You are already perfect.”

They squirm and shake their heads, they roll their eyes. And most of the time, they’ll argue with me. They’ll say that they understand the concept of being “fundamentally good” or that all people are worthy of love. But perfect? Nope.

I have many students that are recovering perfectionists. And they see this idea as toxic. They argue that they are trying to let go of the idea of perfection. They are trying to accept that nothing is perfect. Even the use of the word perfect is triggering to them.

I also have students who haven’t been raised with unconditional love. They think, first, you have to be good, then you deserve the good things in life, like love.

“What if we told our children that they are already perfect?” I ask. Eyes get wide at this. “They’ll be spoiled! They won’t try” they say.

“But aren’t children just curious because that’s their nature?” I ask. “Sure,” they shrug. “But we can’t just go around telling people that they are perfect. They’ll become narcissists.”

I have a theory about narcissists.

They might act superior to everyone, but I don’t think they actually believe they are the best. In fact, their entire identity is built on shame. Their whole puffed-up persona is a house of cards, and their cruelty is born of the deep fear that the whole thing could come crashing down at any moment.

Do they believe they are already perfect? I doubt it.

How about you? Can you accept that you are already perfect?

If you don’t believe you are, take a moment instead to imagine what it would feel like if you did. You might get a glimmer of something that feels pretty good.

But then, all those internal voices start. “Wait, I’m not perfect! I’m not perfect looking, I’m not perfect at my job, at my relationships, hell, I even forgot to brush my teeth this morning.” Your glimmer of hope will be quickly drowned out by doubt.

But I know a secret.

You are perfect. I know this because everything is perfect.

Imagine a field of flowers, their little heads shining up at the sun. Each flower is slightly different. Some short, some tall, some with fewer petals. Even a few have been crushed, or haven’t quite bloomed. Each one of these flowers is an absolutely perfect flower.

What might have kept one flower from blooming was that its seed fell in the shade. Does this mean that this flower is not a flower? Does it mean that it is less worthy than the flower in the sun?

I believe that at the core of our being, is perfection. Just like the flower forced to grow in the shade, we’ve had circumstances that have created who we are today. At any moment, those circumstances will change, and so will we.

But through it all, at our core, is goodness. It’s the thing that motivates us to pick up the toy a stranger’s baby dropped out of their stroller. It’s the part of us that smiles at the beauty of a dazzling sunset. It’s the part of us that longs for love and longs for connection.

I believe that at our core, we are fundamentally good. And, that this process of “self-improvement” is not linear. It’s actually a process of shedding. Of removing our conditioning. Removing these false beliefs that we hold about ourselves. We don’t have to improve, we just have to shed these layers that cover what is good. We have to shed the belief that we aren’t good enough. That we aren’t already perfect. That we have to earn love.

“But what about monsters?” you say. “They do exist.”

Are there people in the world that are not good at their core? Do monsters like that exist? Maybe. But I’m not concerned about them. I’m not a monster and I doubt you are. In fact, I’ve never met one. I have met people that were abused and that were hurt to the point of hurting others just to feel something. But I’ve never met a monster.

What I have seen is a great relief when people think, even for a moment that they are already perfect. That they are exactly who they need to be right now. I’ve seen tears and gratitude. I offered them this concept, but I didn’t cause their tears, they gave that gift to themselves.

No one is holding you back from this truth except you.

Try it. Just for a minute.

Close your eyes. Place your hand on your heart, feel it beating. Say to yourself, “I am already perfect.” Notice the loudness of the disagreement in your thoughts. See if you can love your fear, love your disbelief. Breathe. Say it again. And again.

Psychologist and Human mood ring.

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