How Perfect. The Mistruth of Perfection

Photo by Valeria Bold

How often did we get paralyzed by the fear that we won’t reach the absolute form of perfection of ourselves through our image or through our work? It happened at least once to all of us and it can be seen in the details – the fiddling with the tie, hours spent on a tiny, unimportant thing, sculpted makeup and the not too strong and not too weak handshake. The philosophy of being imperfectly perfect seems to escape our thoughts at times, particularly when exploring a new territory.

Perfection is a manifestation of fear, the fear of failure or success, the fear of social judgement or letting people down. Remember the times when it used to be fashionable to say at job interviews that a great weakness is perfection because it made us look cooler? Perfectionism is indeed a weakness. Striving to do a great job is different from perfection.

Perfection is an event that requires stillness while us, as human beings, are ever evolving. We can work at our best ability and show up with determination. We can accept inconsistencies as stepping stones towards building up success. We have to overcome our misconception of perfection and take perfection as what it really is – performing at our best, based on the circumstances and our ability at any given time.

Knowing Yourself Takes Time

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters

We grow up into jobs and assume that we’re well and happy. We rely on our status and self-image and the more we do so, we fall apart with who we are. Just like an old friend that we haven’t seen for ages, the disconnect with ourselves is real.

We are in continuous change, as we should be. Our taste buds are changing, our bodies, mind, understanding of the world. Sometimes people feel like the age they were at when they graduated from university, got married or had their child. I believe this reflects the connection that exists between us and the present moment at those times that we see as decisive moments in our lives and they probably are.

Setting goals that mean as much to us as landmarks of life mean to society can be done. What is your next big thing? Even better, what is your first big thing? What is something that’s worth putting your time, energy and money on the line. Get to know yourself now – not just the parent, the graduate, the employee. You you – in the present moment. The world is as big as we perceive it. Think big.

Seeing Good in People

Photo by Daria Tumanova

Our mindset dictates the perspective of our reality. Being brought up with a distrusting attitude towards people hinges our relationship with ourselves and with others.

Part of the relationship with the self is seeing our reflection in other people’s eyes. Distrust attracts distrust and people cannot connect at a higher level without putting themselves at risk emotionally. Being socially isolated leaves us with the idea of self that our mind makes believe. If our perception of the self cannot be informed by kindness, love and caring from others we become shadows of who we could potentially be.

Seeing good in people allows us to see good in ourselves and for that building trust is a necessary condition. Rather than teaching our younger members of the community about distrust, we can teach them coping strategies when misplacing trust. We can also teach them empathy and forgiveness that liberate our spirit from emotions that are making us guarded and are holding us back. We can teach ourselves to feel big and trust plenty and to experience ourselves and others in as many shades as we possibly can.

Working Through Long-Lasting Negative Beliefs

The concept of self-love is more than what its glamour makes it appear. Breaking through the bubble wrap of stigma, it’s important to understand that love can’t exist without the self. Without the investment of yourself in others and in oneself, without believing that you’re worth the luminosity, the care, the kindness.

Here are some quick tips that will help you harvest self-love, self-belief and appreciation:

  1. Treat yourself with kindness, as you would treat your best friend.
  2. Replace negative impulse statements – ‘I’m so clumsy, stupid, careless’ with the opposite – ‘I’m going to be more careful, attentive, considerate’
  3. Practice love and kindness. This can be through affirmations that you listen to or you read to yourself in the mirror or through meditation – where you take the time to sit in stillness and wish or tell yourself positive messages – ‘I am kindness’ or ‘May I be loved’

I didn’t come up with these practices but I do find them very useful. They help me centre myself and get a sense of calm and belonging within me. Sometimes what we seek in others is what was within us all along.

Conditional Loving and Selfishness

I recently came across terminology to name unconditional love as expressed by Dr Shefali on Impact Theory under the name of ‘high love’.

High love is aspirational. Is being able to cultivate a feeling beyond all the personal wants – reassurance, attachment, recognition, love, respect. High love is being able to love another without conditioning them to a certain type of behavior or pretending reciprocity.

“It’s narcissistic to think that we can raise another being when we haven’t raised ourselves.”

Dr Shefali

Dr Shefali’s views on parenting go beyond the norm. From the relationships with our own parents and understanding their parenting strategies to working on ourselves as children of parents and potential parents of children, she deconstructs the world of species reproduction as we know it.

Understanding that we don’t have an innate aptitude to parent is a concept that’s not easy for everyone to grasp. Yet many people feel unprepared. The good news is that there is hope. There is work we can do on ourselves and skills that we can grow to have lasting impact on generations to come. As it turns out, being a parent and a child of any age is a real job.