I’ve always been too hard on myself. Being a classical ballet student since age 3 might have something to do with it, I guess. But I can’t blame it all on ballet. As humans, we all want to be accepted, loved, and simply feel like we belong. So maybe I was a perfectionist since day one.
As life went by, I worked hard to be a beautiful ballerina, a successful student, a good daughter, and so on. I felt like I needed to prove myself at every moment, please everyone, meet all the expectations. As a result, there was not much left of me. What do I like? What do I care about? What are my own needs and wants? For a long time, I had no answer for that. Instead, there was only frustration, sadness, and fear. Of course, soon enough this kind of mindset proved not to be healthy at all. This started to change when I began to understand the value of gratitude.
As a recovering perfectionist, I found in gratitude a powerful ally. I’m still figuring this out, but I mostly feel like practicing gratitude allows me to be contented with the present, grounded on reality, and more honest with myself. It’s about accepting and appreciating what I am now, today, at this very moment. What are my possibilities and limitations? What can I (and cannot) offer as a person, a partner, an employee, a friend? It’s also about boundaries, choices, and ultimately, about freedom.
So now, the aim is not for something ethereal, beyond reach, for others’ approval. But for something tangible, which I find here and now. Imperfect — but real.
For me, gratitude is an exercise of acceptance and freedom.
When we feel grateful, we feel whole and complete. It’s when we are truly in peace… finally free!