You Are Perfect Already: Breaking the Cycle of Self- Improvement

Nicole Markardt
You Are Perfect Already: Breaking the Cycle of Self- Improvement

“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you!  It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish!

And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it!

Why do you do such a thing?”

– C. Joybell C.

This past summer, I visited Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. It is a blissful community with lush gardens, spiritually-conscious people, set against the backdrop of untouched Earth.

The vibrational energy of being in nature is undeniably high. Being immersed in this vibration has helped me capture the greatness of my own perfect nature.

The Sanctuary

There is a place at Omega called The Sanctuary: a beautiful space for meditation. As I walked up the stone steps surrounded by such peace and beauty, I couldn’t help but feel as if it symbolized my own ascension toward a higher self.

There are reminders along the path up toward the sanctuary which serve as inspiration for your own reflection—reminders written in stone saying things like, “Love yourself,” along with crystal offerings people have left behind after prayer or meditation.

One reminder in particular really stayed with me. I kept going back to it and staring at it, almost willing it to stay with me always. It said, “You are perfect already.”

Self-Improvement vs. Self-Awareness

Very often, we are bombarded with promises of an improved self. If we only read a certain book, or subscribe to a certain philosophy, or pursue a particular path, we, too, can improve ourselves.

I have fallen prey to this cycle, and in the midst of my pursuits have found myself still struggling with the same patterns, reactive to the same triggers, at the same time feeling the need to repress them because I am supposed to be on the path toward self-improvement.

Improvement can hold a negative connotation as if there is something wrong with us. Self-awareness is a much more self-loving pursuit.

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Being aware of our moods and struggles and allowing them to move through us can help us expand. Sitting with our true emotions can help us move through the need for improvement to a more awakened level of consciousness.

Honoring Our Process

Positivity is a buzz word that can irritate us if we are in a difficult place in our life. Often, we are pressured to feel and think positive for the sake of improvement.

Burying our feelings deep inside of us never works. We often find that these bottled up feelings come out when we least expect it in other ways, such as extreme reactivity in other areas of our life or to a certain seemingly small irritation.

In reality, we are filled with repressed emotion that we’ve pushed away because this is what we think a positive person on the path to self-improvement should do.

As a result, we block out any thoughts we do not perceive as “helpful” and in turn become fearful of our own consciousness.

When we allow ourselves to be fully human as we honor all of our thoughts and feelings, we are thriving from within a state of awareness, rather than operating from a space of needing to improve.

 Lessons in Observing Nature

Just as leaves change color and crumble into the Earth, just as nothing can grow in the cold, hard, barren spaces of Winter, Nature can also be fierce and unpredictable.

We, too, cycle through existence and back toward awakened growth. Our yoga practice reminds us of the cyclical physical growth followed by rest.

Recognizing the already existing beauty inside of our beating hearts, we step into awareness. The struggles, the ugly moments, the fear, and even the mundane tasks of our day to day—this is what makes a life.

Once we are attuned to the glorious wisdom that life has to offer, we can accept that we are meant to experience Winter in order to fully appreciate the colors of Spring. It’s this contrast that helps our expansion.

The Secrets of the Earth

I have learned to allow myself to feel my emotions. Whether I cry on my mat during an intense posture, or am lying awake in my bed at night, I allow my mind to run free in imagination.

This can often lead me into dark spaces. Still, I observe the darkness and allow myself the time to remember the long hidden secrets of the Earth.

We are perfect already.