By Lisa Cypers Kamen.
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.®
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!