The perfection game is one of the ego’s favorite tricks to keep us striving toward an imagined future that will bring everlasting happiness. Even if we achieve some of the goals that comprise this dream, life never feels as we hoped it would. It never feels completely satisfying.

The ego uses perfection to keep itself employed. It coyly assumes that if we stay focused on striving and the future, we forget to notice that what’s already here. Ask yourself, “Is there something that’s here right now that requires no effort to experience and is happy already?” The key is in the noticing. “Happy and for no reason” is our birthright. It’s always available to us and when we’re quiet, when we stop thinking, we experience it.

The ego thinks we need to have it all together to be happy. It imagines a future moment when we “arrive,” when the years of work that we’ve done on ourselves finally pay off, and our dream of a “perfect me” comes true.

To get from our current flawed “me” to the glorious realization of a “perfect me,” according to the ego, we have to be vigilant, tyrannizing ourselves every time our humanness shows up. In other words, if we don’t eat the way we planned or if our body doesn’t look just so, we castigate ourselves and make ourselves miserable.

If we overeat or eat junk food one day, we think we’ve blown it and tell ourselves that after all we’ve done and tried, we’re nowhere with this issue. Healing from eating and weight issues that took a lifetime to develop is doable. I’m living proof. But it doesn’t happen overnight. Progress happens and plateaus, seems to be undone, and then moves forward again. The cliché of moving two steps forward and one step back has certainly been true for me.

Let’s clear something up here and now. We don’t have to get everything right to be healed and we don’t even have to get to someplace called “100% healed.” Perhaps we believe this so the ego can tell the story “I’m 100% healed or look how perfect my eating or my body is now.” The salient question is: Is how I’m eating right now or is the size of my body negatively impacting my health? If not, let it go. Why torment yourself? Ask yourself: Is okay for me to be human? Is it okay to be imperfect?

If you’re answer is no, you’re really setting yourself up because the truth is there’s no such thing as a perfect person. Certain people appear to have it all together but can we really know their experience? Can we know what their life feels like? Everyone’s life has built in challenges. Imagine how boring it would be if it didn’t. Challenges seem to be part of the plan. Otherwise how would we grow? And what fun would no challenges and no growth be? Sounds like a pretty boring existence to me!

One of those challenges for those of us who to try to be perfect is learning to love and accept our human foibles, our imperfections. For us, the question is: can we be tender with ourselves when we don’t meet our expectations for ourselves? Knowing that life isn’t easy, can we learn to be tolerant and loving to ourselves? If we’re going to try to perfect something, why not perfect being kind inside? Why not perfect accepting ourselves especially when we let ourselves down or don’t meet our expectations?