The Pursuit of Perfection

There are a few lies that we are all guilty of telling ourselves and they usually revolve around what will bring us closer to our idea of perfection. “I’ll start my diet tomorrow.” “I’m going to go to the gym every day from now on.” “I won’t ever blurt out something embarrassing again; I’m going to think through every word that comes out of my mouth.” We all do it. We lie to ourselves and say that we’ll start doing everything right the second tomorrow comes. Tomorrow is the world of grand possibility, after all. Tomorrow, we say, we’ll be perfect. No more mistakes. No more unplanned indulgences. Tomorrow we’ll be in control and we’ll be better.

The problem is that we’re ignoring that one little, niggling fact that’s easy to forget. There is no such thing as perfection.

We get to tomorrow, our noble intentions at the ready, and then someone offers us that piece of cake, something comes up that skews our plans or we get flustered by a busy day and speak thoughtlessly. In short, we mess up.

I have been thinking about how guilty I am of this little cycle a lot recently. I watch my thoughts closely. I do something wrong, or something that I’ve deemed wrong (ahem, eating half of a packet of biscuits before dinner), and I swear to myself that I’ll start over tomorrow. As of midnight, no more mistakes – or at least no more of this particular mistake. I normally don’t make it until lunchtime. Yet, I let the cycle continue.

I suppose I’m using this post to remind myself of the futility of perfection, even of the futility of the pursuit of perfection. I am never going to stop making mistakes. I am always going to say stupid things. I am never going to be size zero or have the perfect flat stomach. I am never going to be able to get it right every single day of my life. I probably won’t even get it perfectly right for a single hour. I’m human and, as such, perfection isn’t the point. Betterment, sure, but not perfection.

Over the past year (my first year at university) I have started learning, albeit slowly, to accept my flaws and to like myself in spite of them. I have a million faults but I have a lot of good qualities too and both contribute to make me who I am. I am not diminished by my imperfection.My value is not lessened by it. I am real and I am working on myself a little bit at a time, a little more everyday. And that, I am learning, is good enough.

 

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