"When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target." ~ George Fisher
I'm generally not prone to negativity, but I've been having a hard time silencing my inner critic lately. I've been critical about my hair, my skin that's beginning to lose its battle with gravity, my untended garden and peeling house which make passersby arch their eyebrows...
I do think a little self-criticism is a good thing. It can be a reality check that moves us forward. But there's a difference between focusing on our limitations instead of the small ways that we might improve.
My parents are from Germany so I grew up in a bilingual home. Although English was our native language, there were times when my brother, sister and I needed to speak German exclusively. Caught up in speaking it "correctly," I was hesitant and stilted. My sister, on the other hand, didn't care how she sounded. She rattled on in a way that embarrassed me with its "incorrectness" (yet impressed me with its fluidity). When I became a high school German teacher, I found that the students who excelled were the ones who sought a balance between expressing themselves and speaking "perfectly." I notice the same thing with my yoga students and in my own practice. When we focus on our limitations, aim for perfection in a pose, or compare our pose with someone else's, we lose the ability to find our own unique expression. Yet it's through that unique expression that we find the light, fluidity and freedom that are the magic of the practice.
If you struggle with perfectionism or sometimes have trouble silencing your inner critic, remember: "there is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in." (Leonard Cohen)