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I’ve noticed quite a few patterns and vicious cycles in my life and my friends’ lives. I think we’d all agree that no one is safe from getting sucked into habits and sticking with routines that are comfortable and familiar. Some routine is healthy and provides a sense of calm; however, if we let this invade everything we do, we’re at risk of never growing and never finding happiness or love.

There have been a handful of people who have entered my life (some of whom have since exited) that provided a warm, comforting environment that engendered defenseless sharing. I could be me, without doors, without walls. It’s liberating to shed the façade we must put up for the general public. Now that I can recognize such people more readily, I want to surround myself with them constantly. (And, on the other side, I tend to avoid those who emanate the exact opposite – a closed off, superficial realm.)

But, I was struck with a remarkable notion recently: Why don’t I develop such a caring and loving environment for myself? Wouldn’t I harbor greater joy if I could be myself, for myself, within myself? I know this sounds simplistic but here’s how I consider it…

I’ve pretty much conquered or at least figured out how to conquer my judgments and criticisms toward others. I can take a step back and acknowledge that every one of us is a different constellation developed from the various stars that formed from the random of events we absorbed. Truth be told, I’ve had to learn to adjust my standards for every person that walks in and out of my life. There’s no logic in holding each to the same standard – that just leads to disappointment and frustration. Now, I let people show me what standard they can be held to.

So, I’ve become more flexible with others. But I haven’t done so with myself. Still, I am judgmental and harshly critical of what I do or don’t do, what I feel or don’t feel, and so much more. Out of nothing, I create an invisible pressure that builds and weighs down on my shoulders.

I’ve posted before about obsessing over perfection. I said that to strive for it is irrational, stressful, and just plain silly. And that we should all take a deep breath and be more accepting of who we are, and who we are not. Well, in this tree of negativity, I believe I’ve managed to cut the dead branches off the end of this idea (I have accepted quite a bit about myself that has always been a dark cloud following me around) but I forgot to spray the roots to kill any root rot. I haven’t taken the necessary precautions to prevent any new occurrences of criticism. I’m still innately expecting perfection out of myself.

Perfection, as it is defined by us perfectionists, inherently means that we resist, we do not accept things as they are. Thus, perfection does not reconcile with living in the present moment. Not only is it unattainable, but to seek it prevents expansion of our consciousness. Perfectionists are constantly reaching forwarding to the next moment, in hopes they will be closer to their goal of flawlessness.

But if we change the way we perceive perfection, if we consider perfection already exists in every moment as it IS, then we can let go of the past and not worry over the future.

My point in this is to encourage myself to engender a safe and loving environment for myself, in every moment, no matter what occurs or doesn’t occur – to accept myself and all that I am along with my surroundings.

I believe that accepting oneself is the most difficult step because, while we can quickly recognize we have no control over our external environment, we believe that we still have omnipotent control over ourselves. It would seem rational and logical to believe, but think about how many of get stuck in those ruts, those routines that we go through on auto-pilot. How easily can we break those habits?

It requires being awake. It requires obtaining supreme consciousness.

The vicious cycles that we repeat over and over, the lessons we must learn multiple times, are evidence of our unconsciousness. The lessons that come back around are those that we failed to learn the first time. The first step is being conscious and recognizing the repeated path. Only then can we see the others available.

So, in order to guillotine the head off of my predicament, to stop overanalyzing and judging my every move, to exist more in my heart and less in my head, I must plant complete acceptance at my roots. Only if I treat myself with the compassion that I have learned to afford others, can I dissipate the depressive cycle of criticism. I must recognize that I may lose my footing in anything I take on. And each time I do the strength I use to get back up will only serve to bolster my journey into consciousness.

And, even more important, I must disidentify with my perfectionist self. If I no longer perceive myself to be capable of flawlessness, if I begin to value my weakness, I’ll finally allow myself the flexibility of being human – beautifully, perfectly, flawed.