I know it’s an obvious thing to say, to accept your imperfections, but the truth is that we don’t. We are probably our greatest critic and our criticism of our self never ceases. It’s an on-going dialogue going on inside our heads, searching for perfection, comparing our self to other people. Striving towards perfection, is driven by our ego, but the reality is we are not perfect and we will never become perfect.
What does perfect mean anyway, whose perfection we are talking about? The word perfection is a relative term, what is perfection to some people may mean something completely different to other people. So there is no such as perfection, we all keep striving for this so called perfection, not realizing that it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as perfection, not in this world anyway.
We become trapped in this perpetual cycle of trying to attain the fabled perfection, but we end up grasping for straws. We waste our time and energy, trying to reach a goal that doesn’t exist, we end up chasing ghosts. The sooner we realize that perfection doesn’t exist the sooner we can accept reality for what it is. There is nothing perfect in this world.
Why do we try and strive for perfection?
Perhaps it is an inbuilt survival mechanism to perfect ourselves based on our perception of perfection. We all have certain ideals in our heads; that we measure ourselves and our thinking against. We all have stereotypical images of what something means. For example a stereotypical image of what a genius means is Albert Einstein; he is the pinnacle of a genius in most people’s minds. Some of the ideals that roam around in our heads do not have counterparts in the physical world, and are only based on our experience and perceptions. Our ideals may be a mixture of what we “believe in” combined with our experiences and perceptions.
This image becomes our perfect ideal in our mind and we automatically strive to reach this ideal, because we subconsciously see that image as an attractive and worthwhile goal to pursue. The danger of course, is in not realizing that striving for ideals are on-going process and if perfection is your target, then you will never reach it. We tend to transform the ideal we are trying to strive for into a perfect concept. This changes our efforts to strive for the perfection of the ideal instead of the ideal itself.
This striving for perfection creates an enormous amount of stress, because we will never reach what we are trying to achieve. By accepting the fact that perfection is unattainable, we are saving ourselves a lot of heartache. We should accept that we are not perfect and that no one else is perfect, and try and live with our imperfections. By living with your imperfections, you are not wasting your time and energy pursuing the mythical unattainable perfection.
I have suffered from this “perfectionism syndrome”, both in myself image and in the activities we do. How many times do we ask ourselves the following questions?
I’m too fat
I’m not clever enough
I need to educate myself more
I’m not good enough to become a writer
Although they appear to be just negative thoughts, there lies within these statements an element of striving for perfection of the ideal. For example “I’m not good enough to be a writer”. We have in our minds the ideal of a perfect writer and compare ourselves with that writer and we fall short.
Or another example would be to try and lose weight, so that you can have abs like your favourite movie star.
Movies are another medium which perpetuates this image of perfection. All the actors and actress seems so perfect, not a hair out of place, oh how we wish we could be like them. But it’s all an illusion, if their lives were so perfect then why do they indulge in drinking and drugs? Movies promote an illusion of perfection that doesn’t exist.
I know when I do some tasks, I am a bit of a perfectionist; everything needs to be in the proper place. Sometimes I even start the activity from scratch again, if I feel that my first attempt wasn’t right. This makes me waste time, and I end up going in circles without achieving what I set out to do.
Accept that you are not perfect and nor is anyone else
Accepting that you are not perfect, will release you from the shackles of “perfectionism syndrome”. I know I have wasted so much time in my life trying to achieve things that could never be achieved. We must start to recognize when we are trying to pursue perfection and stop ourselves from doing so.
The world is made of imperfections and this creates variety, some people are short, some are thin, some are fat, some are intelligent some are not. If everyone was perfect, then how boring would the world be? It’s impossible for everyone to be perfect, because perfection is subjective, for the world and the people to be perfect for everyone, then all people and objects needs to reflect every perception of perfection that people have and that is impossible.
Good enough is good enough
My attitude now, whether it is related to self-image or some activity that I am doing, is that; as long as it is produces good enough, results based on what I want or what has been requested of me then it is good enough. I don’t try and go beyond the boundaries of what is required of the task. When I start going outside of the boundaries, then I am venturing into perfectionism. What I’ve found in my experience is that when striving for perfection, I normally end up spending a lot of time tweaking things. The amount of time and effort I invested in trying to achieve perfection didn’t reflect in the end result.
Focusing on the end result is more important than wasting time in striving for perfection, because what you might think is perfect could be completely wrong. Try your best at whatever you are doing, within the boundaries that you are given. When you think it is good enough according to the remit then it is good enough and then move on.
This approach also applies to you as a person, don’t try and look for perfection where there isn’t any. We are all unique in who we are and that includes all of our imperfections. We should all celebrate our uniqueness instead of focusing on perceived imperfections within ourselves.
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