We live in an age fueled by social media personas. People love to put filters on their pictures, post their best angles, their promotions, their new homes, their engagements, etc. We rarely see people sharing their acne, that they gained weight, that they got laid off, that their home has termites, their fights with their partners… These social media personas project a level of perfection that just isn’t realistic or attainable in real life situations.
Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team and ended up being one of the strongest players in NBA history.
Albert Einstein published hundreds of papers, only a handful of which were respected.
Shakespeare wrote many works that were considered unpolished and/or incomplete.
Picasso made THOUSANDS of works of art, but only a handful are celebrated.
Some of my favorite actors and actresses appear in movies that are quite bad.
Striving for perfection can actually hold us back from achievements. The fear of making mistakes and being criticized can lead to an increase in depression, anxiety, and fear. Waiting for the “perfect” moment can also lead to missed opportunities. Waiting for your boss to like you, to have enough money, not knowing how to do something, are all imperfections that can prevent you from taking the leap. There is rarely a “perfect” time to do things: to get married, to have kids, to apply for a new job, to start your own company… Many people use waiting for the “perfect” moment as a glorified procrastination and cover up for fear.
If you want to learn and grow, (who doesn’t right?!) you must acknowledge and embrace both your shortcomings and imperfections. Accepting the fact that each of us are constantly a work in progress is vital to moving towards your goals. If you accept your flaws and imperfections, then no one else can use them against you or make you feel bad about them.
Aiming to please others will never enable you to embrace your imperfections. Imperfections make us individually unique and they also what make us relatable and humanize us. We rarely bond with people over the seemingly “perfect” aspects of our lives. For me personally, I bond with people over our dogs, our jobs, our views, our faith and our civic engagement. I have friends that bond over having kids with similar interests, similar family dynamics (good or bad), the same favorite sports teams. None of these things are determined by how wealthy or attractive you are.
Perfect is an illusion, an unattainable illusion. If your goal is “perfect,” you simply will never reach it. You can critique and chastise yourself over a finished product as much as you want, it still will not bring you any closer to having it “perfect.”
I remember people for how they make me feel and their values, not where they got their degree or how much money they make. We are complex beings, made up of work, family, friends, physical appearance, values, ethics, religion, and so much more.
Our world is far from perfect these days. We are facing a global pandemic, a tense election year, a racial injustice movement, and much more. Nothing going on around us is perfect, so why should we be perfect?