“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.”
In the age of social media, there seem to be new standards of perfection. In ways that we could previously ‘fake it until we make it’, we are now expected to shine at all times. We are relentlessly bombarded with images and advertisements that simultaneously make perfection seem so unattainable and nearly at our finger-tips at the same time. This creates a boomerang effect, placing our own self-concept temporarily into our hands and quickly ripping it out of our control. Often, perfection is expected of us regardless of the demands of our lives, our budgets, our best efforts, etc. The weight can feel unrelenting and suffocating- so how do we get out? How can we use this very human experience of feeling flawed to enrich our lives instead of dismantling them?
First, we must challenge the messages that we have been taught about who we should be, what we should have, and where we should be. Where did these expectations come from? Who taught them to us? Why did they teach these expectations to us? Who benefits from our perpetual striving for a very specific brand of perfection? What does this pursuit of perfection cost us? Who gets hurt? The cycle of perfectionism is sustained by the shame and guilt that fuel it. If we can be kept ashamed of who we are and guilty for all of the things that we have yet to become, then we will continue to chase unhealthy standards of ‘enough’ and ostracize those that do not join us in the race.
Second, we must recognize that by engaging with societies standards of perfection, we are attempting to control ourselves and those around us. Indeed, perfectionism is a control tactic. In the pursuit of perfection, many of us find ourselves betraying parts of who we are to create an image of who we believe others expect us to be. We place the responsibility of crafting a new person onto ourselves while also managing others’ view of who we are – a tiring and inauthentic game that no one wins. When we use others as a mirror to reflect the hard work we do to avoid being vulnerable, we often find ourselves struggling to maintain close friendships and meaningful relationships.
On November 16th, 17th and 18th, we are holding the Lanterns and Labyrinths Fall 2018 Retreat for those who feel called to begin asking these questions and revolutionizing the way they relate to those around them. As part of our weekend retreat, we will explore what it means to be vulnerable, to show up in our lives with courage, and what wholehearted living can look like. We will experience expressive arts together. We will share meals together. We will make meaningful connections with others and especially with our own selves and our own stories.
This three-day retreat explores The Daring Way™, a highly experiential methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. During the process, we will explore topics such as vulnerability, courage, shame, and worthiness. We will go deep to examine the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that are holding us back and identify the new choices and practices that will move us toward more authentic and wholehearted living. The primary focus is on developing shame resilience skills and developing daily practices that transform the way we live, love, parent, and lead.
[ Edit on 11/02/2018: Dates were updated to reflect rescheduling. ]