Ideal or Real? — Maneuvering thru the Perfect Game

We as a culture are familiar with setting goals. We hear all the time, dream big. Create your reality. Which I agree with. I find value in setting goals, intentions, and getting clear on what I want in my life. However, I seem to be relearning a lesson that I’ve struggled with in the past. I can’t help but wonder, “Are we holding so strongly to an ideal that we can’t see what’s right in front of our face?”

I first learned this lesson (experientially) about two years ago through my relationship with my body. For me, somewhere as a young girl, I created an ideal image of what THE perfect body was supposed to be. She was just that. Perfect. Taller. Thinner. Larger breasts. She didn’t have any cellulite or unwanted body hair. Those are just a few of her magical traits. She was quite different from my actual body.

For 30+ years “Perfect Body” was my model of beauty. I believed that in order for me to have value or, in order for my body to have value that I had to be her. And, I fought like crazy for that. I fasted. I over-exercised. I followed every diet plan out there. I thought continuously about how to lose weight. I was overly critical, unappreciative and, unhappy.

Truth be told, I was an active participant in punishing my body. My given body. I punished her for years. I was in an abusive relationship with myself and my body. All because I had created an Ideal. An image that I clung to so desperately that prevented me from seeing the gift in my actual body.

When I first started to explore the concept of having a relationship with my real body, I had an epiphany. I realized…I am NEVER going to be taller, have larger breasts, no cellulite or unwanted body hair. Those aren’t possible for me. And, by believing they were, I was participating in a viscous cycle of punishment. In that moment, with that awareness, something happened. A shift. I was free. I felt like I got to see my real body for the first time ever. And, boy was she happy to see me!

It was like I finally pulled that ratty, smelly, old book off the shelf and opened it up to discover the most miraculous, magical world! By “opening her up”, I discovered such beauty and joy. I started to see my body as the gift it is. I found gratitude for the way it hears and responds to music. For the way it loves to dance. For the simple pleasures it provides me of sight, touch, taste, smell. Suddenly there was so much to see. So much I was WILLING to see.

My lesson was letting go of the Ideal to embrace what was/is Real.

By holding so tightly to that Ideal, I limited the unlimited. I didn’t allow for surprises or for something better. Which, by the way, is what I have found. Something better. This body, I have, is exquisite. And I am so grateful for it.

Currently, it seems I am learning this same lesson again, in a new way. In the form of romantic relationship. I have yet again, discovered an Ideal of what THE perfect relationship should be and have found myself closed off to the gift of the present moment. To the gift of the man standing in front of me. (Well, no longer standing in front of me, but that’s okay. I’ve learned a mighty lesson in his place.)

I don’t necessarily know how to “fix” it. Or if it’s even something that needs “fixing”. I’m just aware of the Ideal’s hold and hinderance on my life in the past and recent present.

When is it okay to admit that perfect may be different than what we’ve imagined? How do we hold on loosely?

I don’t know. I’m still in process on this one…learning this lesson. Do I hold on because I don’t want to give up? Is that because I’ve identified myself as a fighter? But, what is giving up? Surrendering. And, isn’t that simply moving to the winning team?

I guess it all boils down to whether I want to choose War or Peace.

The great part is, I don’t have to know the answers right now. I trust they are unfolding in the “perfect” timing for me.

So…if you say “No” a whole lot more than you say “Yes.” If you find flaw in every little thing. And, in a way, enjoy picking things apart. I got news for you, you may be suffering from “Ideal vs. Real” too. Might be a fun exercise to say YES! “Yes” to who you are, “Yes” to all the wonderful things your body does for you. And “Yes” to seeing perfection in our imperfection.

By the way, the photo I chose for this assignment is my example of Ideal vs. Real. Jennifer Aniston on the left. Amber Krzys on the right. That is my body and my body’s expression of perfection. Let’s be the best version of ourselves, shall we? I celebrate that!

Amber Krzys

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First Tuesday is a Professional and Social Network for Extraordinary Women. Gatherings are held in private homes or public venues on the first Tuesday of each month. Each evening includes unstructured social time, dinner, networking and a program on subjects that span the mind, body and spirit. Newcomers are welcome to join us!

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