Do you try to behave perfectly? Do you consciously make every action as polite, professional, and well mannered as humanly possible? If so, you may well be on your way to success, but you could also be heading to a life of unhappiness.
When I was in my early 20s I wanted to be behave perfectly, and I wanted to behave perfectly in every situation. I always dressed immaculately. I was polite to a fault. I did all the things that I thought “perfect” people did.
I’ll be honest. My perfect behavior did reap rewards. When I behaved perfectly I was successful. I had a great job. I had money. I dated attractive women. I had what you might call a “successful” life. But there was one thing I missed: myself.
When I asked myself some big self reflection questions, I realised I had not been true to myself.
All those years I spent trying to behave perfectly in every situation, I was doing what other people wanted, not what I myself wanted. I allowed other people to dictate the way I behaved. And I buried myself in their shadow.
Being perfect never made me happy. Problem was that I thought I would not deserve to be happy unless I was perfect. But you deserve to be happy even if you’re not perfect. Just as you have to let yourself feel beautiful even if the mirror’s not being so kind today.
Now I’ve forget to even try to be perfect. And I don’t try to meet other people’s demands. I am fiercely independent.
How’s that worked out for me?
Well, you’ll have to wait to the end to find out. But I will say, that perfection is not all its meant to be.
Because what is it to “behave perfectly”?
Who tells you what it even means to “behave perfectly”?
Your idea of perfection probably comes from imperfect people. Your friends, your family, your teachers. Of course, they are good people, but they’re not perfect. And even your own mum does not have the right to tell you what your definition of perfection should be.
But today, the vast majority of people live their lives by someone else’s definition. They might live through the media, through family expectations, through social pressure. But they do not live according to themselves.
We’re brought up to believe that there are specific ways to behave perfectly.
Don’t speak until you’re spoken to.
Always use “please” and “thank you”.
Put others before yourself.
We’ve all heard these things before. But do we even know where these ideas of perfect behaviour come from? Do you know, for instance, that “Don’t speak till your spoken to” stems from aristocrats who felt that other people didn’t have the right to speak to them unless they had expressly given them permission? Is that perfect behavior?
All these ideas we have of the right way to act begin outside of ourselves. But we all know, deep down, what it means for us to behave perfectly. And we do not need to live by someone else’s definitions.
Problem is, those rules you’ve been told are now so deeply rooted inside your mind that to dig them out you practically need an industrial-size digger.
Or you could use meditation.
My personal journey to complete self independence began when I was 23. I was in the cool crowd back then. And I knew that my friends expected me to behave in the cool way. Trouble was, I was interested in spirituality and art, neither of which my friends considered cool.
For the longest time I kept my independence pent up inside. I continued to act as one of the cool people, the type of guy my friends wanted me to be. But every day I felt a gnawing inside of me, as though a little me was trying to escape.
That gnawing grew. Before long I truly felt that if I didn’t fight to be me I would forever be a shadow of someone else’s idealism.
I’d heard that meditation can free your mind from stresses and pressure. And so I gave it a short. I started meditating. In fact I launched myself head first into meditating. And day by day I felt an increasing sense of freedom. I felt liberated. I felt I could be myself. And so I did all the things I wanted to do: I wrote, acted, sang, danced, meditate, practiced yoga….
My friends abandoned me. They didn’t want a friend who was going to acting school, dance school, meditating and doing yoga because at the time those things were not “in”. And those old friends were still completely imprisoned by their need to act in the way the media depicts as cool.
So I lost my friends. But I found myself.
I can handle losing friends who don’t accept me. I cannot handle not accepting myself. Because I life that is lived as a lie is an affront to nature. It’s just not natural. It’s an abomination.
All those phoney celebrities who pretend to be something they’re not just to become famous and make money? That’s not living. I wonder what fake people think when they get to the end of their lives and, looking back, realise they lived a lie? That must hurt deep down in your core.
Being truly 100% committed to your true self is the opposite. Because there are days you curse at yourself and think “If only I’d done what everyone else told me to do, life would be so much easier.
Yeah, easier. But like Bruce Lee said “Do not ask for an easy life. Ask for the strength to endure a challenging one”.
A challenging life lived as your true self is infinitely richer than an easy life lived as a fake. Because at the end of the day, when you look at yourself in a mirror, you can say “I am a unique gem. I am me. And by being unique and wholly true to myself, I have become a person of real value”.
That’s wealth. Regardless of the challenges. And that’s why I’ve spent so many challenging years being fiercely independent and committed to my true self.
How has my fierce independence impacted my life?
Well, it has made life harder, to be honest with you. And it has made life a lot more challenging. Making money for something you believe in (like TheDailyMeditation, which I love) isn’t easy. It’s an Everest of a challenge. But I love it. And I am very happy. Sure, I’m not rich. Sure, there are days when I think “Id I’d just walked the line society carved out for me, I’d have it easier.” But I am me, and I am armed with passion, and I have big plans moving forward.
How will I end up, being so fiercely independent? Stay tuned and I will let you know.
There’s a reason why kids break the rules
When we were little kids our parents brought us up to be “nice” and “polite”, while our friends and siblings taught us to strive for individuality.
We learnt from an early age to be free to express ourselves but also to act in “good” ways that were acceptable to society.
It’s that constant flux between individuality and self expression that’s fuelled our self growth into maturity.
We’ve wrestled between being accepted and being our own unique individual selves.
When we were young we were the good ones, the polite kids that made everyone smile, the ones teachers called good students.
When we were told to say yes, we said, yes, even though a lot of the time a fire in our belly begged us to scream “no!” And we walked the path that our parents and teachers told us to walk.
Oh, we were the good ones. We never broke any rules. We never did anything unexpected. Because we’d hate to let anyone down. But with every “good” thing we did we felt anger in ourselves because we were living the life they told us to live, not the life we truly believed in.
Life wasn’t bad. It was sweet and sour. The sweetness was being the favourite and being rewarded for being a puppet. The sour was the bitterness in our mouths every time we stopped ourselves from being ourselves.
Sometimes we spoke out. Sometimes. Sometimes we raised our voices. Sometimes. Sometimes we shouted. Sometimes. And sometimes we got plain mad. Sometimes.
But everyone loved us because we were all so easy to get along with (read: We did what other people wanted).
We knew deep down in our souls that we yearned to live lives of originality. But how do you break free and become a genuine individual when you’re been taught as a kid to live for the satisfaction of others?
Our parents loved us. That’s why they taught us to be good. Because they understood the crucifix that society hangs you on when you dare to be yourself. And they never wanted to see us nailed to that cross.
But what they never understood is that being good isn’t being happy. What they failed to realise is that a life or worth is a life that dares to break the rules, to smash through the boundaries that life enforces on you.
Being happy and genuinely feeling great deep down in your soul requires that you liberate yourself from society’s prisons.
Part of that is breaking the rules.
It’s a damn shame that no one thought to tell us the truth when we were growing up. The truth is that yes, there are rules, but your genuine individual self is found in the breaking of those rules.
And then the unthinkable happened. We, the ones who had been good, fell behind. Those people who broke the rules, who acted not in the “good” way but in the selfish way, they were the ones who got ahead, because they weren’t doing what everyone else wanted, they were doing what serve them themselves.
And finally we caught on. We saw through the delusion that we’d been brought up to believe. We realised we need to smash boundaries and break the rules. We realised that we need, deserve, and simply must fight to be ourselves and to do what is right not for them but for us.
We broke the rules. We smashed the barriers. We dared to be our individual selves. We became the strong people.
Strong people don’t act in ways that create happiness for others. They act in ways that create happiness for themselves, because deep down they know they deserve their own happiness.
Strong people don’t live for the acceptance of others. They live for the acceptance of themselves. They live to feel justified in their souls, to know that they are the absolute number one person to themselves.
Strong people don’t fight for other people’s riches. They don’t slave to make the 1% richer while seeing their own bank accounts falling into the red and suddenly needing to repay a loan. They fight for their own wealth and screw everyone else because they know they deserve wealth.
Strong people don’t buy into other people ideals. They know deep down in their souls the ideals that matter to them. And they fight with tooth and nail to live up to those ideals.
The good people. The ones who were raised to be everyone else’s puppet. They… no… WE… have learnt that true strength is the strength to be your genuine self despite whatever life or society throws at you.
We have become the strong.
And now we are the leaders.
We are the ones who will set the rules for tomorrow. We are the ones who will smash the barriers and create new lives of genuine individual freedom.
We are the strong.
And remember, you deserve happiness even if you are imperfect
Have you every asked yourself “Do I deserve to be happy?” If so, slap yourself. Of course you deserve to be happy. Here’s some advice you seriously need to hear.
Today a friend asked me “Do I deserve to be happy?” This article is my answer to that question.
Let’s be completely honest about this. We are all made to feel imperfect. Whether it’s a dip in our careers, a blip in our health, or a broken relationship, there are times when we all question ourselves and feel low and perhaps even unworthy.
And at those times we can sometimes turn on ourselves. We can get angry at ourselves. We can judge ourselves. We tell ourselves that we’re useless. And we can cut ourselves to pieces.
And if you do cut yourself to pieces when you’re feeling low, you’re only going to start a vicious cycle. You’re low so you’re hard on yourself. Being hard on yourself makes you lower, so you’re harder on yourself again, and so on and so on until you’re left in tatters.
That mentality is only going to take you lower and lower.
We need a different strategy for handling these low times.
We need to accept our imperfections. Because it is wrong that you ask yourself “Do I deserve to be happy?’
Honestly. Don’t ever ask yourself that again. “Do I deserve to be happy?” Never ask that again. Honestly dude you’re gonna piss me off with that shiz. Yes you deserve happiness.
Problem is most people think they will be happy when they behave perfectly. But they never behave perfectly so they stop themselves from being happy.
Do you think you would be happy if everything were perfect? In my experience that is unlikely. When you behave perfectly you will probably be successful but you might hate life too.
The key is to accept your weaknesses and be happy regardless of your imperfections.
We need to embrace both our strengths and our weaknesses. We need self compassion.
Here are 7 ways to accept your imperfections so you can be happy even when you’re not perfect.
1. Write down a list of all your imperfections. Accept them.
You’re imperfect. I’m imperfect. Look at us. A lovely bunch of wonderfully imperfect people.
And we all except each others’ imperfections. I mean, you know your best friend is far from perfect, right? But you accept that. You understand that their imperfections make them unique and special. And you love them for that.
You should love and accept your own imperfections too.
Write a list of all your imperfections. Go through them. And one by one accept every little thing you do wrong. Then you’ll have developed complete self acceptance.
2. Think about the people you truly admire, and recognise that even they are imperfect.
Who do you truly, truly admire? Think about that person. And now consider all their imperfections.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, for instance. He’s an incredibly successful guy. Lots of people love him. But is he perfect. Hell no. He’s one of the vainest people on Earth (made clear by the fact that he holds the world record for taking the most selfies).
Even an obviously awesome person like Dwayne Johnson has some obvious imperfections.
3. Tell your friends your imperfections and see how they react
We all tend to be private about our imperfections. We share our strengths and successes but hide our weaknesses and failures.
That’s a mistake. Because when you bury your imperfections down deep you allow them to get the better of you.
A better strategy, one that will change your life, is to openly admit your imperfections to your friends and family.
You might sometimes feel lazy and not bother to exercise, for instance. And you might beat yourself up about that. “What’s wrong with me? Why am I so lazy?” you think. But then you tell a few people about your occasional laziness. And they will probably just say “Yeah, me too”. And hey presto, you suddenly realise that what you thought was a hideous weakness is in fact no problem at all.
4. Practice the long lost art of self forgiveness
One of the key attributes that separates happy people from unhappy people is self forgiveness. Unhappy people tend to beat themselves up over their mistakes, thinking “I can’t live like this, Ahhhhh!!!”.
Happy people say to themselves, “Hey, that’s okay, you’re not perfect, we can work on this”.
That one little switch of mentality can make a big difference.
5. Always accept other people’s weaknesses and mistakes
The human mind is amazing. It’s like a riddle inside a mystery inside an enigma. There are so many ingrained habits and mental phenomena.
One of those mental phenomena is that when we’re harsh to other people we tend to be harsh to ourselves.
It’s like there’s a mirror somewhere that reflects our sh*t back onto us.
You want to reflect positivity, optimism, and happiness onto yourself. And one of the best ways to do that is to accept the weaknesses and mistakes of other people.
When you’re accepting of other people, you’ll find you become more accepting of yourself too.
6. Don’t give terms and conditions to your happiness.
“I would be so happy if only I had a high-paid job,” people say. But then they get the high-paid job and they’re still not happy. That’s because terms and conditions do not apply to emotions.
You can’t tell yourself that you’ll be happy when you’re successful and expect it to work. It’s not like there’s a lawyer inside your brain that’s writing a contract for happiness.
Forget all those “I’ll be happy when…s” and let yourself be happy now, because you deserve it.
But at the same time, remember that you do not have to be happy all the time. It’s okay to be unhappy sometimes.
7. Actually work on your imperfections
Sometimes it can be easy to think “Well I’m just not good at… blah blah blah”.
If you think that way you are basically bowing your head down onto the chopping block and allowing your self esteem to be decapitated.
You can change your mentality in five minutes. all you have to do is actually work on your imperfections.
For instance, I’m trash at selling myself. It sucks because there are a lot of things I’m really good at (copywriting, web design…). But I never sell myself in those things, and so I make no money out of them and also don’t get to contribute those talents to the world.
But I’m actually going to change that right now. I’m going to sell myself, to you. Because simply working on that imperfection will change the way I feel about it.
So here goes. I’m a meditation teacher and author. You can read my many excellent books via my Amazon Author Page.
That actually was not that hard. It just took a moment of actual doing. So do most imperfections. The moment you accept your weaknesses and take one small step towards changing them, you give yourself control over your weaknesses.
Remember, none of us are perfect. We’re all beautiful imperfect human beings. But we can be happy even if we’re not perfect.
So what are your weaknesses and imperfections, and what are you doing abut them? Leave a comment below.
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