“When trying to better ourselves, however, somehow we got the notion that it’s about developing a perfect character structure.”

When it comes to practicing Mindfulness or Mindful Yoga (being present to practicing our natural state of being), we need to emphasize the practicality of it rather than the ideological. When we’re trying to live a conscientious, balanced life we need to do the same

When trying to better ourselves, however, somehow we got the notion that it’s about developing a perfect character structure. While any religion, culture or society can bow to the concept of a ‘perfect image’, such a thing doesn’t even exist. And to an extent we all know this. Still, so many of us think we should aim for it anyway.

Why do we do it when this unrealistic expectation causes great anxiety?

Sure, we want to lessen the stress… and yet we’re not willing to give up the fundamental mindset that caused it because it motivates us, and then we give it credit for where we are now.

Perfectionism has both positive and negative connotations; thus it is a psychological trap. So how does it stick to the psyche and unknowingly cause our lives such angst? Perfectionism is ego-driven, and as we know, the ego is tricky.

It starts with the Inner Critic telling us how imperfect something is, then the Self Judgment for allowing it, and then we have the jury, sentencing, condemnation and shame. These voices are loud and the more we listen to them, the more pervasive they become.

Utilizing Discriminating Awareness is how we unlock the trap door and let ourselves out. Yet it takes practice viewing the big picture and prioritizing what’s within based on practicality rather than childlike wishful thinking or authoritarian-like expectation.

In terms of mindfulness practice, it is possible to curb the need for perfectionism by making the pursuit of it boring. This is done by repetition of a goal until it becomes absurd like chasing one’s tail. You learn how impractical or irrational your goal is, laugh at its illusion, and see some relief in realism.

Our days should be practical. This includes practical goals and actions, practical expectations of others and ourselves, and practical perspectives on how things should be. We can see the ideological without camping out there… and without swinging all the way to the other side of indifference and inaction.

It’s not practical to be perfect. It is practical to show up. This is mindfulness. This is life.