I am sweating bullets and my fingers are precariously holding me up in half-moon pose at my morning yoga class. I keep telling myself to “breathe in acceptance” and “breathe out judgement” but other thoughts keep invading my pseudo-yogi thoughts. These “invaders”, as I like to call them, have been taking over my mind for as long as I can remember. They tell me that I am not as good as the perfectly perched yogi on the mat next to me. I have spent hours reading books and scouring internet articles about leading a life in the pursuit of perfection and here are five things that I have found:

1. Nobody is perfect.

This may sound cliché and I am sure that you are thinking, “I know this!” However, I cannot stress enough how true this is. Even that woman in my yoga class has days where she falls out of her half moon.

2. We learn from our mistakes.

While there are times I hate to admit this, we really do learn from our imperfections and mistakes. There was one time while camping that I went walking through the woods at night and didn’t bring a flashlight with me . On a trip back to the car I tripped and it was not a pretty sight. I now know that in the woods at night it is always important to have a flashlight. I am aware that not all mistakes are this silly, but I think that when we stop learning, we stop growing. I intend to keep growing.

3. It’s not that serious.

You may have just read that and been like, “Uh .. yeah it is that serious.” One of the things that I like to do when I am obsessing about messing up is ask myself, is this something that I am going to be thinking about two minutes, two hours, two weeks or even two years from now? Usually our mistakes seem really large at the time but in hindsight they are not that huge of a deal.

4. Obsessing about our mistakes keeps us from being present.

Do you know why focusing on the breath in yoga is so important? Don’t say to take your mind off the searing pain after 100 sun salutations. It is because your breath keeps you focused on the present moment and it forces you to be aware. Every time we perseverate on our mistakes we are keeping ourselves from living in the now. Life is all about the now. You never know what is coming tomorrow.

5. Do not compare yourself to others.

Judy Garland once said, “It is better to be a first rate version of yourself, than a second rate version of somebody else.” I have noticed that when I begin obsessing about my imperfections and comparing myself to others, I am no longer being a first rate version of myself. Interestingly I tend to make more mistakes when comparing myself to others.

The beauty about being human is that we have the ability to learn, grow and evolve. Maybe someday I will master the half-moon pose, but more importantly I look forward to the day when I am able to genuinely accept my inability to balance precariously on my fingertips.

Alexandria is a newly married psychology student who loves writing and DIY projects. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and a plethora of animals.

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