Welcome to the well!
If you don’t know me, I’m a non-traditional (forty-something) full-time college student. I’m also a wife, an entrepreneur, a ministry leader, chronic pain survivor, self-care advocate, and recovering perfectionist.
So, I want to talk about self-acceptance for a minute. Can we do that?
See, I haven’t done this college thing perfectly. I mean, it started the way every new challenge does – with enthusiasm, determination, energy and a freshness of mind that had me feeling invincible and unstoppable.
I’m neither, as it turns out.
Along the way I’ve been short with people I love, canceled plans I intended to keep, vented to my husband using language that would make a sailor blush, and otherwise stumbled and fumbled. I have at times forgotten to take care of my mind (it needs rest, too), my body (I spent precious little time on my yoga mat for far too long), and my spirit (realizing it had been far too since my last full day of prayer and meditation, a practice I treasure). I’ve whined and complained.
But I’ve also been mindful to celebrate when I get a good grade or make the dean’s list, to mark the end of a term with a special day in the Finger Lakes with my hubby, and to take breaks when my body/mind/spirit start to nudge me – or scream at me – for not paying attention to them. I’ve worked hard. Really. Really. Hard.
I tell myself that I haven’t done it perfectly. And then I graciously remind myself that no one does anything perfectly all the time.
And then I tell myself with great love and insight that there is no “perfect” way to do anything.
And then the truth settles on me: I have done this perfectly. I have been perfectly me. Perfectly broken, perfectly messy, perfectly joyful/scared/frustrated, perfectly tired, perfectly playful, perfectly intentional.
And I embrace myself perfectly right where I am. Nearing the end of my bachelor’s program, which I will have completed in three and a half years. Tired. In need of a vacation (which my husband and I plan to take). Surrounded by people who love me and accept me, support me and love me every step of the way, no matter where the journey leads.
I hope and pray that those of you who occasionally get stuck in a rut of unmet self-expectation can read these words and embrace where you are today. Life is messy. Have some fun with it and stop being so hard on yourself.
You can’t do everything, all the time, for everyone, and do it with a smile on your face 24/7. So how about we stop imposing that kind of thinking on ourselves?
Have a good cry if you need it. Create something with your hands (even if it’s just a paper airplane). Sit on the porch and do nothing for five minutes. Breathe. Accept yourself today. Your perfectly imperfect self.