Seeing Life As A Celebration | Steve's Quest: The Animated Musical Web Series

Seeing Life As A Celebration

You may have heard the old story of Sisyphus — the man condemned by the gods to push a boulder up a hill, only to see it roll back down and be forced to start over, for all eternity.

I think this story is a wonderful illustration of how human beings often suffer.  We’re convinced that, in some way, we need to be better than we are, and we’re constantly struggling to improve.  But somehow, we never seem to “get there” — perfection dangles just beyond our reach.

I’ve definitely seen this way of thinking in myself.  Sometimes, I notice myself hoping the next project I finish will finally “get me there” — at last, I’ll be “okay,” and I’ll be able to relax.  But inevitably, when the project is done, the magical feeling of “okayness” I’m craving doesn’t arrive, or it comes and goes in a flash.

I suspect this is why we often hear of celebrities, or others our society sees as “successful,” acting self-destructively.  They fight so hard and so long to “get there,”
but even when they get what they want, that sense that everything’s all right still seems to escape them.  Maybe they get into things like drugs to soften the blow of that letdown.

Does Liking Ourselves Equal Laziness?

On the surface, the solution seems obvious:  let go of the need to be better than you are, and accept yourself as perfect.  But many of us feel nervous when we contemplate that way of thinking.

After all, if we really thought we were perfect, why would we bother doing anything at all?  Why wouldn’t we just plop down on the couch, grab the remote in one hand and a beer in the other, and never get up except to buy more beer?  Don’t we need to feel dissatisfied with ourselves to keep trying?

In other words, the human condition can look like a Catch-22:  we can either feel okay with ourselves, but be lazy, or not feel okay with ourselves, but be perpetually frustrated.

Celebrating Our Perfection

I want to offer a different way of thinking about this issue.  As you’ve probably noticed, we tend to feel driven to celebrate our successes.  When we accomplish something big in our lives, we don’t just want to lie down and veg out — we want to get together with others and share our excitement.

What if we were to accept that, right now, we’re fundamentally perfect, and spend our lives celebrating that perfection?  What if we did all of our activities — our work, service to others, loving relationships, and so on — out of gratitude to God, the universe, or whatever other force is responsible for how perfect we are?

It’s a huge relief for me when I can approach life this way — when I can drop the need to “make myself better,” to fix what’s supposedly wrong, to make others see I have something to offer, and so on, and instead act from a place of giving thanks for who and what I already am.

Yes, it’s hard to think this way all the time, particularly when times get tough and it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot to rejoice about.  But when we’re able to see things from this perspective, I think, we’re at our most focused and peaceful.

12 thoughts on
Seeing Life As A Celebration

  1. Davina Haisell

    Hi Chris.
    As soon as I read the subhead, “Does Liking Ourselves Equal Laziness” I stopped to ponder that.

    We do get complacent when we are “comfortable” with ourselves. I can see how it can be seen as being lazy or resistant to change if we want to hold onto ourselves as we are. So, I re-framed this — thank you — to it meaning “knowing” what works and just using it more often.

    Just as you say, “celebrating that perfection”. If we get caught in the idea that we always have to “fix” ourselves we stop being who we already successfully are. That’s Success Coaching; something I’ve been working on with a friend of mine.

  2. Sara

    Chris,

    I liked this and I agree about the importance of celebrating our perfection without having to add the weights of “we can do more,” “no one is perfect,” and “get over yourself!” I don’t if I sustain that belief, but I can completely enjoy the moments when I get in touch with my own perfection. They are truly awesome moments:~)

    Thanks for this thoughtful post!

  3. Hilary

    Hi Chris .. we do our best within our own life such as it is .. and yes we can improve and do more – but usually it’s just being better at various things – helping others, sharing things, being compassionate .. in fact the more we do for others ..the easier our life often is – because we have achieved – without pushing that boulder up the hill & have it come cascading down again – swamping us in the process!

    You make some very good points here .. Thanks – Hilary

  4. Patricia

    I just can not believe I am any form of perfection – I do like myself just as I am, and still want to change to make my living better ( get rid of the blood sugar roller coaster ride, and excess weight – not so I will be able to realize perfection but because I just think my daily life energies will be better) I grew up in a household of perfectionists and being the free flowing spirit was not such a good place to be…maybe I just need to find a new word.

    Giving your book and audio program a shout out on bikingarchitect on Dec. 2 FYI

    also the newsletter. My youngest loaned me her extra ipod and I put your audio program on it; partner and I are enjoying listening to it on our drives to meeting. Thank you

  5. Chris - Post author

    Hi Davina — I like what you said about distinguishing between clinging to who we are now out of a desire for comfort, and being “okay” enough with ourselves to accept that change and growth can occur without fundamentally destroying who we are.

  6. Chris - Post author

    Hi Sara — yes, I could feel the relief you were expressing around letting go of those judgments as I read your comment. It’s amazing how we can treat it as a big deal just to be encouraging or kind to ourselves, as if we’re hurting someone else or taking away from someone else by treating ourselves decently once in a while.

  7. Chris - Post author

    Hi Mark — I like that way of putting it — if we are divine creations, the handiwork of a perfect being or energy, it’s hard to see how we could be anything other than perfect.

  8. Chris - Post author

    Hi Hilary — “we do our best within our own life such as it is” — that sounds like an important thing to remember. I know I can catch myself at times having expectations of myself that require me to be superhuman.

  9. Chris - Post author

    Hi Patricia — that sounds like it would hurt, to feel like you’re a free spirit inside, but unable to really embody that because of all the critical eyes you have on you. My take is that, although it’s often hard to see, even our desire to change our circumstances right now is perfect — that perfection doesn’t require that we don’t change. I’m very thankful for the mention and the support you’ve given me!

  10. Chris - Post author

    Hi Patty — yeah, I definitely get what you mean about “perfection” being a loaded word — like, if I say I’m perfect, does that mean I’m claiming to be better than everyone else, or that I’ve accomplished everything I wanted and nothing more is needed, and so on.

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