Blog: Who Wants to be Perfect Anyway?

I know it’s been a while since I’ve last visited your inbox, but I was on vacation exploring the beautiful country of Norway this month.  I’ve traveled a bit in my life, more than some, less than others; part of the reason I value the traveling experience is because I always come home having gained a greater perspective on life.
 
During my most recent journey, I realized traveling and overcoming anxiety are parallel in more ways than you might think. While traveling, there are absolutely perfect days and days when nothing seems to work out, beautiful sunny days and gross rainy days, days when you're sick of people and days when you have a wonderful conversation with a Norwegian nurse over a 45-minute ferry ride. It’s easy to get caught in the habit of continually judging our experiences (as humans we love labeling, even if it’s arbitrary and subjective), whether it’s traveling, parenting, working, or anxiety – “Wow, I didn’t have anxiety today, I’m doing so good!” or “Ugh, I totally got caught up in the anxiety again, I’m never going to get over this!”
 
When is anything perfect for longer than a moment? Apart from us, who says any experience “should” be perfect? No one ever told me flat out that life should be perfect. In fact, I can remember my painfully down-to-earth mother telling me that life isn’t perfect – it’s what you make of it. Somewhere along the line though I developed the belief that a good life or a worthwhile life can only be so if it’s perfect. But the truth is, there are days when you’re pissed. Or days when you cry at heartwarming rescue animal videos (that definitely wasn’t me last night). Why wouldn’t there be days when you feel more apprehensive or nervous? Or insecure?  Or flat out scared? It’s okay to be kind to yourself when anxiety pops up, anxiety isn't any different than the other emotions; it's not special.
 
A big part of what perpetuates anxiety is our judgment, because judgment brings a lot of attention and focus to the anxiety – judgment basically breathes life into the anxiety.  What helps you move on when you’re in a sassy, sad, or scared place? Well it often starts with making space for those emotions and cutting yourself some slack. While traveling I felt disappointed that I didn’t absolutely love the first few days of my time in Norway, and I was judging myself pretty harshly for it, which in turn created a lot of tension that manifested in the form of me getting snippy with my ever patient husband. But, once I took a step back and remembered that not every day traveling is going to be perfect or magical (that’s part of the adventure after all), then I was able to ease up a little, and within the next day or two I started to fall in love with what Norway had to offer. I don’t know where we get the idea that in order to be happy, fulfilled, and content that every day has to be perfect. In reality, it’s striving for that constant perfection that creates so much anxiety and tension, not the imperfections themselves. Being human is wonderfully messy and imperfect, and it's awfully tiring to pretend otherwise. Perfect is boring anyway.