Finding Abundance by Embracing Imperfection
This is the first post in a new monthly series where guest bloggers will share their personal stories related to finding abundance. As we explore the unexpected circumstances that often arise in life, we’ll uncover how people found hope and encouragement along the way.
I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist – never feeling like it is okay to fail. No matter what I’m doing, failure doesn’t feel like an option.
That didn’t change when my body started to fail me. When I began having difficult-to-diagnose nerve problems in 2013, I continued to strive for perfection – only it wasn’t feasible anymore. Little by little, before my diagnosis was confirmed, I slowly began to give up the extras in my life. All the while, I continued to do the mandatory things, the things where I knew I could still succeed. I went to work, meetings, and family dinners, but I didn’t want to go to the gym unless I knew I was going to have a good workout, especially if it was a workout class; I didn’t want to go on vacation unless I knew I was going to feel good; I didn’t want to go on a date with my husband unless I felt completely normal.
During that period, my husband and I continued to lose more of the abundance we had had in our life – fun, freedom, connection, adventure – all because I was afraid of embracing imperfection. Then, after being diagnosed with an abnormal presentation of fibromyalgia, when I did feel great, I’d hit life so hard that I’d crash and end up in a fibromyalgia relapse. I overscheduled, overworked, and overdid it.
A few years later, I found myself in my first yoga class. A place where it is always okay not to be at your best. A place that recognizes your body isn’t the same every time you come to your mat. It finally felt okay not to be perfect. It was okay to show up to class in whatever state I woke up in. I began embracing imperfection.
Over time, I realized I’d been missing out on a lot of living while waiting to feel perfect enough to go out and experience the world. Here’s the thing: I never needed to be or feel perfect. I just needed to BE. I needed to show up for me. I needed to be present in the experience no matter how I felt. Living this way has brought abundance back into my life and has helped me learn lessons I would have failed to recognize otherwise.
I’ve uncovered that it’s okay to sit out of a hike or activity on vacation and read a book at a coffee shop instead. Even when I can’t do everything, I can still experience a new place and broaden my horizons.
It’s okay to show up to a yoga class or the gym to swim laps knowing I might only manage 60 percent. It’s more important that I show up.
It’s okay to go out to dinner with friends and end the night early when I don’t feel good. I still get to enjoy good food and company.
Showing up counts more for myself, my relationships, and my health than I ever knew possible. Showing up and embracing imperfection has allowed me to experience so much life and, in turn, so much joy during low times. If I had waited for myself to feel perfect, I’d still be waiting and missing out on all of the abundance life has to offer.
About the Author
Katy Jenkins is a proud Purdue alumna, wife, occasional feminist, and thoroughly Midwestern girl. In 2013, she was led down a 7-month path that ended at Mayo Clinic with a diagnosis of abnormal fibromyalgia. Feeling trapped by the stereotypes associated with the disease, Katy desired to find and live out the things she is passionate about while dealing with the limitations associated with chronic illness: her new normal.