Stop chasing perfection
As a society we are obsessed with improvement which leads to perfection; our mind keep wandering to achieve perfection in everything we do. We get bogged down because of the desire to be perfect human. This burdens us ironically and it is a major cause of unhappiness. How do we define perfection?
At first, we might think that trying to be prefect is desirable. Let’s take a deeper look at that belief. Perfection suggests a state of flawlessness, without any defects. Seeking perfection at a particular task might be achievable and certainly individuals can strive to attain a perfect salary, perfect job or a perfect home. Yet, the goal of being perfect in life is altogether a different story.
A machine or electronic device may operate perfectly; at least for a while. Yet, over time it will begin to wear down and require repair. I believe the notion of perfection can be attached to machines and not men. Perfection lies in the paradigm of Newton’s mechanistic universe, not the humans. How can we expect humans to be perfect? Perfection was never expected from humans. Human are imperfectly perfect – that’s the definition of being human. Consider the expression, “I’m just a human.” We need to remind ourselves the goal isn’t to emulate a machine, but to accept the imperfection of being human. The quest for perfection is the root of discontent.
We all want the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect body, the perfect looks, the perfect spouse, perfect children……..and who decides what is perfect and what is not? Secondly, remember that there is always going to be that someone out there who is better than us. So we find somebody more intelligent than us, we find somebody more attractive, someone happier, somebody richer, brighter so on. Why should we focus on what everyone else has and what we do not? Instead, we should focus on improving ourselves in the so called weaker areas. There are always going to be things about my job which others will keep telling me to improve. And, there is no yardstick to count how much I have improved.
Things are ought to go wrong in our relationships, our jobs, our education, our bank balance; there are going to be obstacles in some areas which we should accept or overcome. There are going to be days when we feel euphoric and there are going to be days when we feel low and drained. How can we feel more satisfied with our work lives, how can we give more to our relationships, how can we take better care of our bodies, how can we grow in our careers, how can we pursue our hobbies – I feel if we put in our efforts by not seeking perfection, we can become happier. The moment we seek perfection it can lead us down a path of disappointment. I feel we all can strive for improvements, there are always things to improve upon by keeping realistic goals. One day at a time, one change at a time.
The print media, advertisements, social networking, newspapers and television are out there to promote perfection; media depicts an idea of the type of positive, perfect and awesome people whom try to copy, we aspire to be like them, but in reality we are something very different. We want the world to see us as ‘something’ we want to project ever happiness, we want the world to see us doing exciting, fulfilling activities, and that we’re on top of the world. We edit our lives and cut out the real parts, only focusing on the ideal parts of who and what we wish we could be. Perfection is often difficult to resist, and it’s reinforced everywhere in the media. Everyone is at risk when he or she tries to ape those so called perfect people. We succumb to the perfection, such deceptive cultural messages feed the deepest insecurity in ourselves and encourage us to believe we must be something different from who we really are. We often hold ourselves to an unbearable standard of perfection.
It’s easy to get swept up by the fear that we just aren’t enough; we compare ourselves to the adorned and decked up images of people and we start thinking we aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, tall enough or thin enough. For example, when we feel we aren’t adequate physically, we’re compelled to diet, exercise, wax, pluck and tuck in an attempt to achieve the “perfect” look. Somewhere along the line we equate our life with the perfect life. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with taking some grooming and polishing lessons. Those in the public eye especially are expected to attend to their appearance. But, leaders like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, M.K.Gandhi; social reformers Mother Teresa or Ramanuja; actors like Steve Buscemi, Bill Murray, Samuel Jackson are not good lookers but their work made them handsome. Regardless of your looks, your work makes you famous in society. It distinguishes you from rest of the world. It is important to open to our unique version of inner beauty and own who we are as individuals. We must own our individuality while embracing our unique style, our flaws, our strengths and our weaknesses. What is most required is accepting our own self and to be comfortable in own skin. I think this quality makes people look very appealing.
As William Shakespeare famously said, “Nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Being genuinely happy starts with the realization that you are both the source and the cause of your own well-being. We never get to experience the world as it really is; we only get to experience our thoughts about the world. It is not actually other people’s disapproval that makes us unhappy. It is our mistaken belief that happiness is something that comes from others approving of us. What is the point in spending a life ceaselessly trying to please people who are perhaps incapable of ever being pleased? I like what Joyce Meyer a notable author and speaker says “Strive for excellence, not perfection because we don’t live in a perfect world”.