Late in Marlon Brando’s life, he was lounging in his house with his wife, watching one of his early films, perhaps “On The Waterfront.”
“My God,” he said. “I was so beautiful then.” He paused. “But I’m a much nicer person now.”
How many times have you had the experience of looking at an old picture of yourself and thinking “Wow! I was handsome/beautiful/thin! Why couldn’t I see it?”
Well, one of the major reasons is that we’re afraid of being egotistical, nose in the air, “I’m better than you.” And so we focus on our imperfections, or compare ourselves to some impossibly perfect ideal, for fear of being ostracized, or becoming complacent.
And if this leads you to joy instead of compulsively self-critical, great. If it leads you to excellence rather than paralysis, go for it!
But it is better to aim at a “balance point” between pride and dissatisfaction. To enjoy your physical or emotional or mental gifts and accomplishments without needing to compare yourself to others, or tear yourself apart.
The “Child” part of you is so hungry for your “adult” approval. If it gets that approval in proper measure, she is happy and delighted to dance for you, and in that dance, constantly improve.
The “Ancient” part of you knows that life is a long road, that all we can do is keep walking the path. To embrace balance so that the drive to achieve does not destroy us: it is a walk, not a sprint.
The “Adult” self must navigate the consensual world of money and ego without ever forgetting that the deepest values of life are in love, growth, and contribution: that the only things we keep are those we give away.
For the sake of all three: love yourself. Be HAPPY where you are. Continue to work and strive for the sake of “walking the path” on a daily basis. Enjoy the scenery. BE HERE NOW.
Now is all there is. Yesterday is a memory. Tomorrow is a dream. You are wonderful TODAY. Beautiful TODAY. Successful TODAY. Joyous TODAY.
All you need to have a perfect life is a succession of perfect days. And all you need to have a perfect day is a succession of perfect moments.
Have a perfect day. You deserve it.