Becoming the Perfect You
You have a vision and longing for who you want to become. But, maybe becoming the perfect you is not really what you want or need. You find yourself sad and frustrated wanting to live up to your own expectations. Just when you think you have worked through something you find the same old reaction come up again. You are left feeling discouraged and sometimes hopeless.
The more you can give up this vision of who you want to be the more joyfulness you can experience. If you are reading this article then at least one aspect of your vision is likely around being a compassionate person. Tragically as you compare yourself to the person you think you should be, compassion is the last thing that gets created.
You can get out of this spiral into suffering. The key is to focus on how you relate to yourself rather who you are.
The question isn't "Have you become someone who never reacts?" The question is "Are you accepting and compassionate with yourself around whatever you find yourself doing, thinking, and feeling?"
As I prepare to spend three months in a monastery, I notice my own "being the perfect me" thinking comes up. I start to create all kinds of standards about what I should achieve during that time and who I should become. With the help of empathetic friends, I reel myself back from this spiral into suffering and return to compassionate relationship with myself. I remember that whatever I do, whether it be meditating or reacting in anger, the point is to meet it with acceptance. Even acceptance implies that there is something separate and possibly unpleasant that I have to "accept". Eventually I want to have a relationship with myself in which I just notice ‘what is' in the moment and respond in the most life giving way I can.
Being in a compassionate relationship with yourself requires that you learn how to talk to yourself compassionately. You can start with whatever you criticize yourself the most for, including accepting that you're criticizing yourself.
For example, rather than saying "I shouldn't get angry" start saying something like, "Okay, I got angry and I gave vent to anger. That's okay. That's part of being human. What do I now to reconnect with myself and the other person? Or Let me take some time and reflect on everything that happened before I got angry so I can understand how I got there."
When you are not using energy to criticize yourself or someone else it frees up energy to get curious about your experience, which allows for the new awareness and growth you were looking for all along.
This week every time you have a thought about wanting to be someone you are not, bring yourself back and notice how you are relating to yourself. Connect with the you under the messiness of the moment. You are always doing the best you can.