I think one of the most difficult parts when starting the practice of mindfulness is the quest to be perfect. After sitting and doing your meditations you expect immediate results. I was (and still am) rather impatient and anything short of the light shining from heaven upon me was unsatisfactory. I kept waiting to see the amazing results that I was promised from the several many books and articles I read: space, patience, and a clearer understanding of the problems around you? I bought into it quicker than Jack was sold his magic beans.
It’s really not surprising. All of us have been spoiled in this information age, and we all want our needs met five minutes before we even know what our needs are. Mindfulness is a process, and it requires a lot of practice and patience as you begin. Like anything in life, the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it.
Click here for tips to help make a habit of mindfulness meditation.
Although I did see some results rather quickly, I became easily frustrated when I would have the same mindless moments I did before my meditations. I would lose my temper, say things I wish I hadn’t, and was rather impulsive during stressful times. I would fall into these same negative coping routines I had been plagued by for years. I expected to be perfect, and to deal with every situation the appropriate way, every single time. I mean what good is a strategy if it doesn’t work every single time?
(Or so I thought.)
When it comes to mindfulness you will never be perfect. Although your ability to create space to deal with the stress in your life will improve as you continue your mediations, you will relapse into moments of mindlessness. To this day I will react to things without giving them proper thought. I still occasionally blurt out things at inappropriate times that I wish I could take back. I will lose my temper, over think things until my head aches, and have depressed days where nothing goes right.
But even though these things are still going to happen, now that I have been using my mindfulness strategies, they have been happening considerably less often. Prior to mindfulness I would have many consecutive days of pessimism and helplessness, now these miserable moments only last an hour, or only minutes. I am mentally stronger by practicing mindfulness, and it takes very serious problems to rattle my focus.
It is our imperfections that make us stronger, and by being able to reflect on the moments in which I don’t react as I properly should, I can better prepare myself for when it happens again in the future. Before I would ignore my weaknesses, and just see it as a fixed personality trait. Now I see it as an area for improvement.
These imperfections make us unique, and are good reminders that the best strategy for surviving the demands of the daily grind is flexibility. You will never be perfect, but you can be better, and you will continue to improve as you create more mindful space.
In the comment box below, I would like you to feel free to share the biggest area of your personality that needs improvement. Is it lack of organization, impatience, negativity, helplessness, anger, frustration, or some thing else? What have you done to improve in this area? Was it successful or are you still struggling?