If there is one thing that is making a big turnaround today, it is the thought of how you influence and inspire others. For years in social media many have had this misconception that you can create a perfect life online. That somehow this “perfect” version of yourself would inspire others. All of the posts were about these “perfect” moments that were happening in a persons life. Nothing was posted that didn’t fit into this perception of perfection.
Like the years of photoshopping models into this idea of what a perfect body should look like, instead of inspiring others to reach towards perfection, it created the opposite. It fed into the lie, that some how you are not good enough. Not rich enough, not skinny enough, not smart enough – that your breasts were too small, your stomach not flat enough, your thighs were too large, you had the wrong kind of hair, the wrong color skin, etc…, this idea of perfection (which shifts with the seasons and years) is not how we inspire others.
The problem is that perfection isn’t how life is. It’s messy. It’s imperfect. Most of the time it feels like a disaster. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, not the advertising agency or the social media influencer.
“Seek the approval of no one. Never change who you are. Don’t fit the mold that others have created for you.” – Adverstu.com
I worked fulltime when my kids were growing up. I tried bribery, threatened grounding and created punishments. Nothing convinced my kids that they should walk into the house and put their things in their bedrooms when they got home from school. Nothing I tried convinced them that when they finished raiding the refrigerator because they were starving, that they were capable of putting those dirty dishes in the sink – let alone the dishwasher.
Instead, this was our pattern. On Mondays the house looked presentable, because I had spent the whole weekend cleaning. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday our house slid downhill in a mountain of toys, discarded clothing, schoolwork that fell out of bookbags, whatever the dogs and cats had played with or destroyed, and of course dirty dishes. By Friday I would collapse under the mountain and pray that no one would come knocking at my door expecting entry. My house never looked like the perfectly organized home I always dreamed of.
You don’t inspire others by being perfect. You inspire them by how you deal with your imperfections.
“When you are living the best version of yourself, you inspire others to live the best version of themselves” – Steve Maraboli
For me the inspiration came not from working myself into exhaustion. It didn’t come from yelling and screaming at my kids in frustration. It came from doing the things that I knew were the most important. Those things changed as my kids grew older, but it all started from the same place – spending time with my kids. Sometimes that was just relaxing and watching T.V. Sometimes it was watching them play in the back yard. Sometimes it was taking them to the movies and watching something that I never would have chosen to watch, but that they did. We went roller skating, to bonfires on the beach, to backyard bar-b-ques with friends and families. As they grew older, it was transporting them to outings with their cousins and friends. Then it was the terrifying years of being in the car with a student driver.
It was different activities, but the inspiration was the same. Supporting my kids in whatever way I could to grow up happy and healthy. Now that they are all grown up and having families of their own. Now I get to laugh at them going through the same states of imperfection in raising their children. And I get a lot closer to that imagined state of a perfectly organized home 🙂
What is being inspirational to others about?
Simone Biles demonstrated what being inspirational is all about in the 2020 Olympics, when she pulled out of some events to focus on her mental health. There is greatness in listening to yourself and advocating for your needs. She identified within herself where she was. She drew her own boundaries in order to keep herself safe and healthy. Like Naomi Osaka, she recognized the interconnectedness of mental and phsyical well-being. When Simone decided she couldn’t compete in several of her events, she stayed and supported her team.
She took a different path than expected and it took tremendous courage to stand up before literally the whole world and do this. She demonstrated the courage to protect her heart, soul, mind, body and spirit.
I love the thought, that each decision we make to walk our own path, is a comma, not a period. The path didn’t end. It is continuing onward. There are times when we need to stop and refuel. It isn’t a period, it is a comma – a pause to take a breath. You refuel so that you can have the energy to finish – it’s the finish which is a period.
And at the end of each finish, you get to choose what new adventure awaits. You get to start down a new path of self discovery.