This project is winding down and I’ve had a lot of time to digest the negative thoughts I have about this body I live in. I feel better overall and I feel I’ve made some huge strides but guess what? I’m still not perfect….damn it. They say “no one’s perfect”. Us experts are not perfect either (well, at least I’m not!). When we screw up it’s doubly bad. First, admitting we screwed up can take a bite out of your expert clout. Second, when we screw up, we knew better so the guilt layers on even thicker. I mean when you know better, you should be able to do better right? Yes, in theory. In life though, we all screw up. We’ve all started a new plan, made a New Year’s resolution or whatever and didn’t see it through. How many of you have been able to look in the mirror and, “Perfect. I’m done.”? I haven’t. What probably even worse, is that it’s hard to see the progress we DID make – where we fall short is so much more obvious. These past few days with my neck strained, I’ve been sitting here in my neck brace barely able to hold my head up without pain – and I’m once again battling myself. I have stuff to do! I have patients to see and I was starting a week of perfect eating, perfect workouts and a great mental outlook. So far not much has gone my way this week and instead of saying “Oh well, at least I get a couple of days to sleep in and watch movies”, of course I said, “This is terrible! How much can I get done if I prop my computer up on a pillow, position my head just so and type with only my left hand? Joe, do you think I could cycle because my head doesn’t move much on the bike and I can wear the brace?” Joe just shook his head at me. He is right. I’m a nut case. So far this week, and for several more days I fear, I’m simply not able to do much work, much exercising or much of anything else – and so I tried something mind blowing: I forgave myself. I begrudgingly forgave my body for being less than perfect. I forgave my stupid spine for being injured (I said I forgave it, didn’t say I’m happy about it.) I forgave myself for all the things I should’ve made happen this week that didn’t. Then I softened a bit… (Deep breath…..ok Brooke, here goes…) I forgive myself for coming up short last spring on my goals. I forgive myself for making the wrong choice for myself now and again. I forgive myself for deciding to eat the bad, bad thing that one time. I forgive myself for the weeks my workouts were whimpy. I forgive myself for the workouts I didn’t even bother to do. I forgive myself for all the weight I lifted last week AFTER my neck was telling me loud and clear, “That’s about enough of that. Take a day off.” I forgive myself for everytime I got less than an A on a test. I forgive myself for not being able to fix everything that’s ever gone wrong with my family, my patients, my friends or anyone else for that matter. I forgive myself for how mean I’ve been to myself since, oh, probably about middle school. And, here goes….I forgive myself for not being perfect. Did the world end? Yikes, I actually said it outloud – you all ok out there? Everyone till standing? Ok, I’ll continue… I don’t plan on stopping myself from always aiming above and beyond. I will still try to accomplish great things with my career, my health, my body, and my relationships. But I need to trust that when I come up short it’s not for lack of trying. If it doesn’t go perfectly, I forgive myself in advance. I feel 10 pounds lighter. I think my neck feels a little better.