Saturday, April 28, 2012

practice make imperfection

It really is kind of ridiculous how much of my life I spend making lists and thinking about things to change so that I can be happy with myself.  One big one:  Self-Discipline.  I suppose if I actually stopped making lists and HAD self discipline, I could accomplish ALL THE THINGS.  Oh, the cycle of self defeat, what a cunning opponent you are!!

One of my last blog posts was about synchronicity and how I'd discovered Brene Brown and her amazing clarity on shame and worthiness.  Then a dear friend commented about how another friend (Savannah!) lent her the book "The Gifts of Imperfection" by...of course...Brene Brown, and that she'd share it with me.  So the 3 of us met up and I got my hands on the book.  Like I said I'm not surprised any more when things like this happen, I just take it as confirmation that I'm on the right path.

I started reading this book, and I'm noticing how much she speaks my language.  I have heard this said a few different ways before, but for some reason, hearing it the way she described it really hit home.

(these are the first lines in the first chapter)
"Practicing courage, compassion, and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate worthiness.  The key word is practice.  Mary Daly, a theologian, writes, "Courage is like-it's a habitus, a habit, a virtue:  You get it by courageous acts.  It's like you learn to swim by swimming.  You learn courage by couraging."  The same is true for compassion and connection.  We invite compassion into our lives when we act compassionately towards ourselves and others, and we feel connected in our lives when we reach out and connect."

And then I got hit by a giant "DUH" brick.  Self discipline isn't something I'm magically going to be gifted by the gods watching from above on their little holy clouds.  Just like I practice procrastination, laziness, worthlessness, loneliness, indulgence, unacceptance and shame in my daily life; self discipline and all those things I CRAVE and make lists for need to be practiced.  Daily.  I need to create new neural pathways and walk back and forth through them so that the weeds are beaten down and that path becomes the new familiar way and easily recognizable.  It might be hard work at first....but when things become don't think about them allllll the time, you just do them.  You don't need to think about how to swim each time you get into the water...your body remembers how to swim and so it does naturally. 

I don't remember it being all that difficult to create habits of sugar addiction, laziness, complacency and procrastination.  I think that was the path of least resistance to be honest. 

In order to get to a place where I can start checking things off my list...I need to feel the resistance, and press on to practice my new skills:

Determination:  Staying focused and committed to goals and projects to COMPLETION, not perfection.
Perseverance: Keeping faith in myself via compassion and resilience
Gratitude:  I'm one lucky bitch.
Consistency: How new habits are born
Success:  Dude, SMALL and EASILY ACHIEVABLE goals please!
Courage:  Vulnerability is a strength
Authenticity: Don't hustle for approval.  Love that which sets you apart and makes you unique.
Optimism:  I GET to have this life, I don't HAVE to do it.

In short, whatever we practice daily is what we're the best at and what defines us.  Our daily habits are reinforced by what behaviors and beliefs we nurture.

Practice doesn't make perfection.  Nothing makes perfection, because perfection is a huge lie.  Practice merely makes you good at something.  I'm really good at being trapped behind shame and fear because that is what I practice.

And very soon, I'm going to be really good at practicing how to reach beyond my comfort zone, getting kicked in the teeth, picking myself up, reaching further, and dancing my way through this evolution which a huge smile on my face.

Check  out my current list and watch my progress over at 43things.   Make your own list (be SPECIFIC with your goals!) and share it with me!  Let's cheer each other on!

And if you're serious about it, read this great article on how successful people treat goals!

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