Perfection. If you think about it, it’s a really funny concept. Not funny as in ha, ha, but funny as in strange. After all, almost everything in life is subjective. We all have our opinions – whether about politics, attractiveness or the best way to spend a Saturday night. Yet still, so many of us assume that our vision of perfection is universal and seek out ways to bring ourselves closer to our version of flawlessness.
To what end? Disappointment? Disillusionment? Exhaustion? It’s a futile quest, perfection seeking. And leaving it behind takes only a small shift of perception – but it’s one that will change your life.
Nurture vs. nature
On a grand scale, perfection does exist – and we’re part of it! Atoms had to come together to create the molecules which form every living and non-living thing on the planet. As part of that natural order, human beings then, by our very essence, are perfection – otherwise, we wouldn’t exist. Unfortunately, though, at some point nature (flawlessness) gave way to society (judgment). It was then that our own perception of ourselves as nature’s ideal was lost in favor of – believe it or not – trend.
Throughout history, different cultures have determined that certain characteristics are better than others for a variety of reasons (very few of which are based on anything remotely close to reality… how else would Paris Hilton be an icon?). Whereas these days, it seems, the skinnier and crazier you are the more likely you are to be idolized and idealized, there was a day when being overweight was a status symbol (it meant you were rich enough to have something to eat!)- corpulence indicated wealth, and the portlier the better!
What this all means, is that however we define an ideal at this very moment, it’s not gospel – and it’s bound to change. In fact, there is no such thing as perfection, objectively speaking. What appeals to one person will not always appeal to another (and certainly not to everyone). Yet, perfectionism is most often driven by the way others will see us (and our desire to be loved and respected). Yet what really matters is how you perceive yourself. So, rather than chasing an impossible goal – and one that would, very possibly render life pretty boring (after all, our mistakes are where we grow) – perhaps it’s time to consider a change of your life’s motives.
Imperfection by design
Put plainly, screwing up sucks. None of us wants to disappoint people. But it’s a fact of life. And rather than chasing an impossible goal (to never make mistakes, to always be on top of your game), why not accept that you are not – and never will be – perfect, by anyone’s standards. Not only is this okay – it’s by design!
So often, perfectionism drives us to beat ourselves up for every misstep or mistake, when without them, we’d never learn. In a Stepford universe, free from error, our species would never evolve. While our physical bodies are “perfect” in nature’s eyes (and meant to be cared for, not abused), spiritually, we all have room to grow. That is life’s beautiful journey, and imperfection is a part of taking it, not only for ourselves, but as part of the expansion of human consciousness.
Sure we all want to be our best. And yes, it’s important to act with integrity and respect for yourself and those around you. But unrealistic standards don’t to anything but take you close to neurosis, and further from your best self – the one where you’re taking optimal care of your needs and you look and feel great… just the way you are.
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