Award-winning author, international speaker, and former radio show personality.
Over the past few months, I have been watching a friend drown herself in her own pool of perfection. Then recently, the topic of perfection came up again in the psychology course I teach. And today, I saw a t-shirt that said, “Perfect is Boring, Be Imperfectly You.” I could not help but realize the universe was trying to send me a message. As I thought more about this concept related to my own life and those I have met and worked with over the years, I realized that we are obsessed with the notion of perfection. In fact, we are so obsessed, that plastic surgery and reconstruction are a 60-billion-dollar industry.
The thing is, there is no such thing as perfection. In fact, I dare say, we delete the word from the dictionary because it is a completely subjective idea. What is perfect for one is not perfect for another. Moreover, it is a completely unobtainable concept or life goal as societal and personal views change over time. So, what is perfect today, may be obsolete tomorrow. Think of it as the Tweedy Bird tattoo someone gets when they were 18 and at 40 seems utterly ridiculous. Tastes change. Yet sadly, there is a deeper issue with perfection as it relates to our emotional health and well-being.
More often than not, trying to be perfect is nothing more than power and control issues which are rooted in low self-worth. If we aren’t comfortable with our flaws, then we will be hard-wired to believe that others aren’t accepting of us either. The more we don’t feel we measure up, the more we try to control our environment. This puts us on a hamster wheel trying to be everything for everyone. This notion of perfection also leads us down the slippery slope of judgement for ourselves and others. The simple fact is that you CAN’T be nonjudgmental if you spend time judging yourself. It simply doesn’t work. So, trying to be perfect creates a hyperawareness of all that is imperfect around you. You begin to believe in a global incompetency and convince yourself to come degree or other that no one can do anything as well as you can. This creates unrealistic expectations for yourselves and others.
The fact is that we can never be everything for everyone nor can we control the details of our lives. Not everyone will like us. We aren’t capable of everything. We won’t be the thinnest, prettiest, richest, or most successful. In someone’s eyes, we will always be imperfect. And sure, when we consistently make effort to control all the variables in our lives, from time to time we may succeed. But allowing the process of life to happen is far more rewarding (and relaxing) than trying to pin down every aspect of it which only creates anxiety, depression, low self-worth, and ultimately fear.
But the thing is, when we allow ourselves to be the perfectly flawed humans that we are and understand that very little in our lives is under our control, we can breathe into a space of presence and self-love. God made us to be special and unique! We weren’t meant to be like everyone else or even be perfect for anyone else. We only must be good enough for OURSELVES! And it is when we step into the idea of being perfectly imperfect, God smiles and says, “I am glad you love yourself because I worked hard on you.”