You F’d Up. And You’re Still Perfect.
You f’d up. And you’re still perfect.
You got herpes. And you’re still perfect.
You got fired. And you’re still perfect.
You are anxious. And you’re still perfect.
You failed the test. And you’re still perfect.
They didn’t like you. And you’re still perfect.
You have no money. And you’re still perfect.
You still don’t have children. And you’re still perfect.
She has more followers than you. And you’re still perfect.
You broke the plate. And you’re still perfect.
You’re not enlightened yet. And you’re still perfect.
You don’t own a house. And you’re still perfect.
You said something you shouldn’t have. And you’re still perfect.
You feel shy. And you’re still perfect.
They broke up with you. And you’re still perfect.
You didn’t get it. And you’re still perfect.
You couldn’t get hard. And you’re still perfect.
You wonder if you’re a lackluster lover. And you’re still perfect.
You lied. And you’re still perfect.
They didn’t choose you. And you’re still perfect.
You didn’t speak up when you could have. And you’re still perfect.
You’re still single. And you’re still perfect.
You’re still in the relationship you don’t want to be in. And you’re still perfect.
You feel sad. And you’re still perfect.
In case the media, society, and your upbringing didn’t deliver the memo…
… you’re perfect, no matter what.
You are made from the very essence of Divinity. Your imperfections are part of a Grand Organized Design of overall perfection.
You are 100% human and 100% Divine at the same time.
You could break 1,000 cups and get fired 1,000 times, and you’d still be perfect.
You can safely drop this idea that you’re not enough, not lovable and you must hide your vulnerable flaws in order to be loved.
It’s not so.
As a human, you will f’ up. That’s part of this perfect design.
Imperfection means evolution.
Your f’ ups are actually catalysts that help you, me, and the world around us to learn to listen to our heart, choose to love and allow ourselves to be loved.
Without your breakup, bankruptcy, or broken glass, you might not learn how to stretch your heart to fit even more inside of it.
If you weren’t perfectly imperfect, we’d be in the Garden of Eden. Nothing much happens there. Not much evolution. Just… stillness. Which is lovely, but it’s very quiet. This perfect garden is a great place for plants to grow, but not the human soul.
For me, I was so ashamed of my clinical depression and anxiety, which I suffered from chronically in my twenties. In my perception, not being happy and on top of life was a major flaw. My big growth experience was to allow my mind and heart to be big enough to hold even this flaw of my sadness and fear.
My depression and anxiety were also catalysts for me to attend a number of therapy, African dance classes, embodied spirituality retreats, and Bwiti initiations, which ended up changing my life completely, much beyond just healing my depression and anxiety. I never would have started the journey had I not had the depression and anxiety…
The cracks are how the light gets in.
It’s easy to love someone when everything is hunky-dory. Think of Western wedding vows… For richer or poorer, better or worse, in sickness and in health. These vows are about loving the perfection and imperfection. Can we choose to grow our hearts big enough to hold both and all?
I have a long list of things my mind says are not good enough about me… My voice is not strong enough. Not enough success in business. Sometimes I’m jealous of my friends. Legs that don’t look like legs in the magazines. Can I allow my heart to fit even these things inside? Can I love my human nature that gets envious, fearful, impatient, and judgmental?
Can I be gentle with myself as I continue to grow and evolve into the person my soul knows I am? Can I love myself for better or worse?
Now that’s self-love.
Your flaws are actually what makes the world go round. They bring dynamism to the whole universe. If you don’t believe me, watch Stephen Hawkings’ explanation of gravity and how imperfection is the reason why anything moves in this existence.
This is what I mean when I say imperfections are part of the Grand Organized Design.
Not even gravity is perfect! And neither are you! And that’s what gives this universe life.
Sometimes our mistakes or uncomfortable flaws are the necessary learning for other people, not just ourselves. My mentor always said to me, “You’re not on this planet to be nice. You’re on this planet to be yourself.”
The first time she told me this was during an online emotional detoxing session. I was afraid the emotional release noises I’d make were making my housemates feel uncomfortable (it involved crying freely and muffled screams into my pillow).
She said, “Maybe they need to hear someone in their authenticity. Perhaps it’s opening up a possibility inside them that feeling emotions is normal. Perhaps you’re helping them, even if it makes them feel uncomfortable.”
The universe is all about balance. Think about cause and effect, karma, biological laws of harmony and stasis. How do you know that your broken glass or broken heart is not balancing the greater equation of existence? Perhaps you saying the wrong thing at the wrong time is actually just what we needed to hear.
Forgiveness: the medicine for imperfection.
The trick is to forgive yourself quickly. Forget and let go. As in, don’t hold on to the thought, memory, behavior or pattern anymore, and don’t repeat it. Integrate and transcend.
We often seek forgiveness from others, meanwhile let our own mind beat on and on about how we did and didn’t do X, Y and Z. We carry this baggage with us until we can say, “My darling, you’re human. You got yourself into a mess. It’s okay. I forgive you. I still love you.”
Forgive others for being human too. They f’ up on the regular just like you and generally feel sh’t about it afterwards, just like you. They’re also God in drag, just like you.
Sharing your vulnerability.
Your imperfections are also shared with everyone and are not to be shamefully hidden. Like belly buttons, we all f’ up. But why are we not shy about our belly buttons, but we’re shy to reveal our letter of decline, depression, or confusion?
This doesn’t mean you should share your vulnerability with just anyone. Don’t throw your pearls before swine. As in, don’t share your gems from your most inner sanctum with people who won’t appreciate it and hold it with love. Share your grief, confusion, disappointment and anger with people who can witness you without judgment. These people are your heart squad.
I always feel my friends the most when they are real with me, sharing the joys and the lows, the good, the bad, the ugly. My heart feels them. Something special opens up. It’s no longer communication, it’s communion.
That’s actually what we crave in our relationships and friendships. Not entertainment and someone to pass the time with, but someone who we can commune with. For all the good, the bad, and the ugly in our experiences.
For me, it feels risky to do, every time. My mind races, “What if they reject me? What if they confirm my fear that this is a terrible and embarrassing thing? What if they think less of me?” Yes, perhaps, but don’t the greatest things in life involve risk? Isn’t that where we really receive our greatest rewards? To date, I’ve never been let down by sharing my authentic vulnerability with the right people.
Tuning into your self-worth.
Start to feel into where your self–worth really comes from. Despite what society, media, and our ego tell us, it’s not from our achievements or actions. One aspect of our worth is what we value. What really matters to you? When you meet someone who you really feel love for, what are their qualities? What do you appreciate about them? This points us to what really matters.
See how much you’re able to embody these qualities on the regular.
Another aspect of our self-worth is to start inquiring deeply into “Who am I, really?” If I am not my thoughts, actions, body, relationships, history, future, accent, bank balance, CV, or humor, who is this I? This inquiry is the inquiry of a lifetime, and a doorway to freedom.
Learn, integrate, and up your game.
Paradoxically, accepting imperfection in ourselves and in others doesn’t excuse bad behavior. On the contrary, you are responsible for listening to your heart, choosing to love and allowing yourself to be loved as much as you can every moment of the day. This means choosing to feel your emotions safely and consciously and not take them out on other people.
It means being kind to yourself and taking actions that align with your highest integrity. And then forgive yourself and anyone else when we may fall from grace each day.
So, how to internalize and embody this understanding of imperfect perfection and deeper self-worth?
I only know this stuff because I struggled with it long enough to learn how to move through it (and keep moving through it as life happens and I peel my ‘self’ like an onion). I have had, and continue to have, my own catalysts that have expanded my heart and helped me to write this for you now.
6 Keys to Overcoming Perfectionism and Increasing Self-worth
- Meditation. I encourage you to observe in your thoughts where you have a story in your head saying your imperfection is shameful. Observe it, but don’t buy into it. Think of it instead as the chatter of a noisy neighbor. This belief, these thoughts, are not you even though they have the sound of your voice. Release them and don’t believe them.
Do this by meditating everyday for 5-10 minutes in stillness. Check out Insight Timer for great guided meditations. Notice your thoughts throughout the day too!
- Affirmations. Start to cultivate a story that is more aligned with reality, a reality that even Stephen Hawkings’ physics revealed to us: imperfection is perfection. Including yours.
After meditating, say these affirmations:
No matter what I’m experiencing, I love, forgive, and accept myself fully.
Today, I remember that my imperfections are perfect.
Today, I am in immense gratitude for my many blessings.
Today, I love myself the way I love [insert the name of your child, beloved, best friend, darling pet].
Today, I discover more deeply, “Who am I?”
Today, I trust.
Today, I listen to my heart.
The trick to affirmations is not to read them out like a shopping list. Use your imagination and perception to feel every single one of them in your body as if they are alive and true for you now. This is about compressing time and space: folding time in half so the future arrives in your present moment right now. Feel what you want to feel, now.
This is quantum spirituality.
Notice how these affirmations are not talking about the negative. Where attention goes, energy flows. So put your attention on what you want, not what you don’t want!
A trick to help you easily connect to the feeling is to imagine yourself as someone who already embodies the quality you’re seeking. For example, imagine someone you admire.
- Enquire into “Who am I, really?” Meditate and ask yourself this question again and again in a sitting. Don’t pre-prepare your answers, but be still and silent and see what arises.
- Be bold and share. Share your vulnerability with people you trust. Soon enough you’ll realise you’re loved no matter what.
- Drop the expectations and judgments. If you’re like me, you would have spent a good 20+ years believing some erroneous things about how unworthy and broken you are. Sometimes we can drop these beliefs in a lightning flash, other times it’s a gradual change. We may make progress and then seemingly slip backwards (there’s that pesky imperfection again!) before making more forward traction again. That’s okay. The slipperiness of the journey is all part of the design, remember?
- Let yourself change. This can be the hardest step: actually giving up behavioral patterns that tie us to our past.
The caterpillar becomes complete mush before metamorphosing into the butterfly. The caterpillar had to let go of every part of itself in order to become a new winged creature.
Let go of the identity you have of being self-critical and let yourself be someone who loves themselves. Let yourself be someone who speaks nicely to themselves. Let go of being someone who tells hilarious but cruel stories of your ex-partner and be someone who doesn’t go on and on bitching about the past. It’s not entertaining. It’s keeping you stuck. We are the stories we tell ourselves.
Let go. Evolve. Transform. Regenerate.
Caitlyn Cook is a writer, artist, and embodied spirituality practitioner. She organises Bwiti Initiations, co-creates All 1 Union monthly global mass meditation sits, and is an ISTA apprentice. Supporting people to know and love themselves, her creative practice centers on mindfulness, soul psychology, sacred sexuality, and energy/shamanic healing. Caitlyn’s influences include meditation, shamanism, mysticism, sexual alchemy, psychodrama, nature, movement, and ritual. Caitlyn was featured in the mini documentary My Break Up With God, which explores her journey with authenticity, sacred sexuality, and her traditional Christian family. You can connect with her via her website, Instagram or Facebook.