At the beginning of this
year, 2006, I made only one New Year’s resolution and that was to be authentic.
What this meant was that I was going to be me, be truthful, and be real. There
was to be no fibbing, no denial, no acting the way other people wanted me to
be, no being the “good girl” because that is what would make other people
happy. Being authentic meant I was also going to be able to get angry, express
my true feelings, get messy, and make mistakes without punishing myself,
feeling guilty, or feeling ashamed/embarrassed for my imperfect parts. This
part, my friends, was a big deal for me, the recovering perfectionist.
It’s taken my many years to
fully get that there really is no big prize in being a “perfect” person. Really.
Four years ago is when I began the process of de-perfectifying. I had been
doing the perfect thing since pre-school, and I did all the right things, the
ideal things, and there was no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. There were
just more rules, more expectations, and more busy-ness. Frankly, I found being
perfect constant work, boring, inflexible, and un-warm. That’s one reason why
people like rebels. Rebels are free spirits who have fun, get into trouble, and
mostly do what is true to them. They don’t live by what is expected of them.
They live by what they feel in their heart. I admire that.
When you’re being perfect,
there is no room for spontaneity, freedom, or growth. You can grow, but it’s
really limited growth. You’re constantly worried about your flaws, and how much
other people can see them. You avoid tension and mess at all costs. When you
are working hard at being perfect, you really don’t take any big risks. You mostly
stick to doing what you know you can win. You don’t venture out and try things
where you just might look like an amateur or where you may fumble. You stretch
only as far as your perfectionism will allow you. You also don’t really allow
yourself to explore your own soul, your pains, and your dark side.
Part of being authentic for
me also meant cleaning up what I ate. I decided to cut out any foods with
ingredients that sounded like it was created by a lab coat. Whole Foods Market
made an enormous amount of money from me this year. I tried to do away with
Diet Coke, but alas, I could not. That’s okay. We’re all allowed a vice.
Being authentic also meant
parting with friendships and relationships that no longer served my higher
good. This was very tough to do because there are people you love to have fun
with, but at the end of the day, you discover that the foundation of your
relationship is built on sand or illusion. You discover that you can’t really
be you and grow because it doesn’t fit with the unspoken rules that your
relationship has in force. My group of friends dwindled to a handful, and it
was quite lonely and sad in one sense. But on the other hand, the people I have
in my life are true friends. I am making new friends, and because I am more of
an authentic person myself, I find that these new relationships are soulful, enlightening,
I am looking forward to 2007. I feel it is going to be a break out year for myself, and many people I know. When making your New Year’s resolutions for 2007 consider adding “Be authentic” to your list. It’s going on my list again, and was one of the best things I did in 2006.