The idea that you are already perfect just the way you are, is, well…an imperfect one at best. It’s simplistic and lacks the nuance inherent in human existence.

It’s a very common affirmation in yoga circles and my suspicion is that it has arisen from the tremendous amount of guilt that people carry around with them because they are not living up to the perfect life that is portrayed through marketing and the media – you don’t have the perfect car, you don’t have the perfect relationship, you don’t have the perfect house, the perfect looks, the perfect body, etc. and therefore you are not happy. Coming from a worldview that accepts this pseudo-culture propaganda, the idea that you are already perfect, is a welcome relief.

However, once the thinking that propagates this worldview has been unraveled and new, healthier, more self-directed ways of knowing are created, the idea “I am already perfect just the way I am” loses it’s value and in fact becomes kindling for narcissism. At this point imperfections can be faced with a sense of challenge, gratitude and even awe.

So at this stage the affirmation might change from “I’m already perfect the way I am” to:

“I have some really annoying habits and issues that I need to deal with. How can I humbly face these and fearlessly move forward into my potential? How can I, without slipping into old patterns of self-loathing, pity or depression, become better able to both self-actualize and to serve?”

I love this video from Barbara Ehrenreich which I think speaks to a similar issue.

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