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By Lisa Cypers Kamen.

Coffee Cup The word “perfection” sure gets thrown around a lot. “She’s perfect;” “I’ve got the perfect fix;”
“That’s picture perfect.” But who defines perfect, anyway, and what set of variables needs to magically align to achieve this so-called state of nirvana?

The problem with perfection is that everyone has a different definition of it. My perfect day might be a bike ride through the city, during which I stop at every farmer’s market I come across. You could very well hate bikes and think farmer’s markets are boring. Another person we consult on this matter could respond that they would never live in a city in the first place, so the entire scenario doesn’t even apply to them. And that’s just the simple concept of the “perfect day.” What about the “perfect job,” the “perfect partner” or the “perfect pant size?” In short, what’s perfect for me isn’t perfect for you.

Given this discrepancy on perfection, is there any value in striving for the perfect life? Often our perception of the perfect life is modeled on the lives of others who we don’t even know well enough to realize that they have issues, too. Society’s prescribed view of perfection doesn’t take into account your eccentricities, individuality or creative streak. It doesn’t take into account where you grew up, who your friends are and what you value most about life. Trying to achieve what is perceived as perfect by the masses is a recipe for disaster in the form of self-loathing and denial of your individuality.

So, then, what should you strive for? This is impossible to answer for anyone but yourself. But what I have come to find is that an imperfectly perfect life – full of uncertainty, ups and downs, but at the same time, an understanding of who I am and what I value – is more than enough. By blending your working definition of perfection with admiration for the quirks that make you special, you’ll find the inner happiness you thought was reserved for the people with so-called “perfect” lives.

Happiness is an inside job.®

Happiness Strategy:

Journalist Anna Quindlen once aptly said, “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” Whereas perfect is a generic ideal that many can strive for, such as achieving a modelesque figure or attaining a certain salary figure, being yourself is something that is completely unique to you. And that is exciting.

To start connecting with the authentic, rather than the “perfect” you, make a list of five words you would use to describe your best qualities. Next, make a list of activities that help these best qualities shine. If you put the word creative on your list, make sure that you are making time on a daily basis to engage your creativity muscles.

The more you build your life around your authentic, best, self, the happier you will be!

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Lisa Cypers Kamen is a filmmaker, positive psychology coach, author, host of Harvesting Happiness Talk Radio, professor and lecturer specializing in the field of sustainable happiness. She is widely recognized as an expert on the subject. Lisa’s acclaimed documentary film co-produced with her now fifteen year-old daughter, Kayla, “H-Factor…Where is your heart?” explores how people in varied circumstances find, generate and share happiness. In addition to her film on happiness, Lisa has also published a number of articles and books entitled, Got Happiness Now?, Are We Happy Yet?, Leadership: Helping Others to Succeed and Reintegration Strategies, about combat trauma and using positive psychology principles to create wellness in a post-war new normal. Lisa’s written work is featured on blogs for the Huffington Post, and and she is a TEDx community event speaker. In addition, she is the Happiness Expert for the Florida Department of Citrus/ Florida Orange Juice in its Take on the Day campaign.

Harvesting Happiness for Heroes™ is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that delivers stigma-free integrated combat trauma recovery services to warriors and their loved ones. Modalities include scientifically proven strengths based Positive Psychology coaching and interdisciplinary tools such as film, yoga, meditation, art and creative writing designed to mindfully empower the client to achieve increased self-mastery, self-esteem and reclaim her/his life. HH4Heroes focuses on the balance of mind, body and emotion resulting in greater overall wellbeing and the transformation of Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) into Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). HH4Heroes offers retreat workshops, one-on-one coaching, Battle Buddy programs, as well as our new R.E.B.O.O.T Online virtual community coaching classrooms designed to reach underserved areas. In addition, HH4Heroes deploys Return to Duty™ civilian and corporate training to help welcome a warrior home and into the community and workplace.

Lisa is committed to teaching Happiness is an inside job™ and helping others end their needless suffering through intentionally cultivating greater joy.

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