I have always been a perfectionist and a pusher: pushing to be the perfect role model, daughter, student, significant other, friend, gymnast, cheerleader, employee and even the perfect yogi. I felt that the only way to reach true success was to be perfect in all aspects of my life that those who push towards perfection never make mistakes. After all, that is the very definition of perfection, right?
My edge became reaching towards perfection. I normalized constantly stretching myself too thin, spreading myself is so many different directions that I began to feel nothing, and I became so busy that I could barely take care of myself. I had started with a great passion for all the things I decided to commit to, but in the end, I lost all passion and was just going through the motions day in and day out. I continued to let this pattern go on until I was forced to slow down.
I was diagnosed with an eating disorder, depression, and anxiety my freshman year of college. I had become so focused on being perfect on the outside that I had destroyed myself from the inside out. I was so busy that I felt I did not have time to eat and was afraid of gaining weight so I worked out constantly. Everything else in my life was spiraling out of control and the only thing I felt I could control was my food intake and how much I worked out. I went to therapy once a week and also saw a dietician once a week. I had bi-weekly check ups with the doctors. I felt like a total failure. This is not how a perfect person’s life should be.
Therapy challenged me to define perfection, which I did without hesitation, but it also challenged me to see that perfection does not always equal success. I needed to find that balance between being successful and being imperfect, allowing myself to make mistakes and learn from them. Most importantly, it has taught me that being successful is not defined by how quickly you progress, because I learned that the faster I moved, the more I felt like I was out of control and the more it led to self-destruction.
The idea of “the edge” really hits home for me, because I have been on both sides of the coin: the side where you move way too fast and the side where you give up all hope. Now I find my edge on my yoga mat. On certain days, I feel empowered, strong, beautiful, and linked to my breath and body. And some days I feel weak, vulnerable, powerless, insecure and not so in tune with my body, but the breath is still there. I learn more about myself on the days where I feel vulnerable. That’s where I find my edge. I never used to let myself slow down, surrender, and drop my knees until now.
Most people think that their edge is a place where they just cannot push anymore, but I know that if I push too hard, I move towards self-destruction. So my edge is found by knowing when to slow down, surrender, and take some deep breaths. My success is defined by both my achievements and failures. Without both, I do not have room for growth, learning, and change. My yoga mat empowers me to feel both strong and vulnerable, knowing when to pull back and when to push just a little bit more without being self-destructive. The edge is no longer a place of perfection, but rather the edge is a place of self-acceptance, a place of knowing when to go a little deeper, but more importantly, when to let go and surrender.