All my life I’ve been a perfectionist. Things had to be just so. Folds with razor-sharp creases. Stacks of paper in perfect alignment. Food arranged with symmetry and precision. This affliction worsened as I aged. The more settled I was in my behaviors and attitudes and general life patterns, the more controlling I became. In writing I had to use the correct words and the correct grammar and the correct style. Heaven forbid I had a typo in my manuscript. If I didn’t, then the writing wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t good enough. And I’d never get my novel published or be a bestselling author.
Little did I know that my perfectionism was holding me back from expressing myself.
In a recent energy healing session, I got to look at the pain in my lower back and what it was trying to tell me. I’ve dealt with back problems for over 30 years, from minor twinges that are just annoying to severe pain that demands bed rest for several days. Massage, chiropractic adjustments, and my beloved heating pad help me out. But I’d never resolved the cause of the incidents. I’d always thought it was about bending incorrectly or twisting the wrong way or not using my knees when I lift.
This time I received a different message. My pain was about the “should’s” and “shouldn’ts” in my life. “I should have known better.” Or “I shouldn’t have gone there.” Or “I shouldn’t have done that.”
Hindsight is great but it doesn’t help the present moment. You’ve probably repeated numerous patterns in your lifetime and had the same results. And if you’re anything like me, you wonder when the lesson is going to stop. But if something isn’t working, then you probably need a different approach. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. The problem is that “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” drag you down. They make you feel guilty. They’re destructive and feed on shame and demoralize your spirit. They make you wrong. And wrong is not uplifting.
I want to be happy. Smiling. Joyful. Don’t you?
Those old patterns are about living in the past. My 30 years of back pain were about being stuck in old experiences. Not loving myself. Not letting go. Being unwilling to forgive. The pain began in my 20s after a late party when I fell asleep while driving home at 2 a.m. My car jumped the curb, traveled down the sidewalk, and plowed into the corner of a bar. Ironic for someone who doesn’t drink. I wasn’t seriously injured. No punctured organs or horrible loss of blood. But I did break my nose and I hurt my spine. And I told myself I shouldn’t have gone to that party. I shouldn’t have stayed out so late. I should have known better than to drive when I was tired.
My body got tired of carrying all those “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” with me. Slowly but surely the back problems got worse and more frequent. And each time my back went out, I thought this again?
The healing session allowed me to see what I’ve been holding on to all these years. Now I know that it’s okay to forgive that part of me and let it go. To know that I’m not perfect. To embrace the beauty of my imperfection, in my body and in my judgments of the world.
Forgive yourself and move on. Embrace your imperfections. Start seeing the beauty in where you are right now.