It was a warm, sunny morning as I pulled into the parking lot of the local pumpkin patch – my 3-year-old was buzzing with excitement for her first-ever preschool field trip.
I had 100 things on my mind – childcare that needed to be coordinated, an upcoming conference call, emails to write…the list goes on.
As I pulled into the parking lot I saw a swarm of kids in matching blue shirts lining up to go inside. I glanced at my daughter in her pink striped shirt and felt my heart sink. Not only were we the last ones to arrive, I had forgotten that she was supposed to wear her school shirt that day.
I felt terrible. It was one of those moments where you know it’s not really a big deal, but the fact that you can’t quite keep it all together is fully exposed.
“B – I am so sorry, mama made a mistake. You were supposed to wear your school shirt today and I totally forgot!”
I looked back at her (preparing myself for a 3-year-old melt down) and the sweetest little voice replied, “It’s okay mama. We’re all different. Some of us wear pink shirts, some of us wear blue shirts. We’re all different and that’s okay. Don’t worry mama.”
And my heart swelled.
I was worried about her feeling out of place, left out, or embarrassed. But that was MY fear, not hers.
At 3 years old, she’s not afraid of being different.
She doesn’t worry about not fitting in. She has yet to experience social pressure to look or act a certain way.
On this warm October morning, she reminded me that it’s okay to show up, just as you are, and I recommitted to fiercely protecting that truth in her life as she grows.
I started The Balanced Life 5 years ago with the goal of helping women take a balanced approach to health and fitness – an approach that embraces imperfection and transforms our relationships with our bodies and ourselves.
I started this journey after overcoming from my own self-esteem issues that were spurred by mainstream media. Growing up, I measured my beauty by the size of my body and constantly compared myself to the girls in the magazines. I wanted to be perfect and I always fell short.
Through many years of internal work and the gift of Pilates, I have been set free. I no longer chase perfection and have made it my mission to encourage others to do the same.
I’m thrilled to be partnering with Reebok Women and their Perfect Never campaign. Over the next few months we’ll be spreading the message that perfection isn’t the goal, but rather continually striving to be a stronger, healthier and whole version of ourselves.
The parking lot conversation with my daughter made me realize just how beautiful and untainted her self-image is at this stage in her life. I know the hard years will come so I want to do everything I can to help her stand firm in who she is.
Here are 5 things I want my daughter (and all women) to know about chasing perfection…
1.Embracing imperfection frees you up to take risks, reach new heights, and chase your dreams.
Striving for perfection will hold you back. If I cared about looking perfect, I would have never built the business of my dreams. I would have never filmed my first Pilates video, I would never post photos of myself in workout clothes and would have never created a life that allows me to live out my passion while raising my children. Letting go of the need to be perfect, frees you up to live life to the fullest.
2. Perfection is a facade.
No one is perfect – no matter what you see on Instagram, in magazines or at back-to-school night. For every beautiful moment you see there are 10 challenging, imperfect messy moments that you don’t see. There is no such thing as a “perfect” life, body, or person.
3. Your weakness can become your strength.
Take it from a girl who has built a business around her biggest struggles and insecurities. Don’t be afraid to show your weakness, there is power in vulnerability.
4. Life is a lot more fun when you show up just as you are.
Chasing perfection is exhausting. Trying to manage your image will wear you down. When you let go of unrealistic expectations and show up just as you are, the weight of the world will be lifted off your shoulders.
5. Imperfection breeds connection.
When you show your imperfection, you free others to do the same. Real relationships are built upon vulnerability and authenticity. Letting down your walls will make it easier to make friends build deep, meaningful relationships.
And though I will tell my daughter these truths day in and day out, what matters most is that I model them myself. My actions will speak louder than my words.
So here’s to embracing our bodies, personalities and messy, beautiful lives – imperfections and all.
Photography by @annemariebollman
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Activewear c/o Reebok Women
Personal note: I am in LOVE with these shoes! They’re super lightweight and the seamless neoprene booty is form-fitting and provides flexible stability – perfect for walking and everyday wear. Highly recommend!
PS – If you enjoy this post, click here to learn about The Balanced Life Sisterhood. It might be the perfect thing for you.