When You Stop Striving for Perfection You Might As Well Be Dead

Perfection. A word that often gets etched in our brains. We often describe a beautiful woman as a “perfect 10.”

Perfection. A word that breaks one’s heart, for those who strive for it are afraid they’re never going to achieve it.

But what does it mean to be perfect? A perfect ten… Physically stunning in such a way that there’s nothing anyone could add or take away to further enhance your beauty.

Some aspire towards this kind of beauty. They spend enormous amounts of money to become perfect.

But beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, doesn’t it?

One man’s dream woman is another man’s “I’ll call you back.”

What some rate as a “10” is another man’s “8 on a good day.”

Personally, I think that if we let ourselves become obsessed with achieving physical perfection, we lose a bit of ourselves. If we think that where our power resides, then we are setting ourselves up for heartbreak.

A friend of mine once told me that only those who lack social intelligence believe that the most beautiful person in a room is by default the most interesting person there. Because they almost never are.

And, yes, I am well aware of the effects beauty has on us, and the fact that we perceive beautiful people as more trustworthy, more competent, and more intelligent.

But… as I said previously, beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and to paraphrase Salvador Dali, we’ll never, ever reach perfection.

If that is so, aren’t those who strive for perfection damned to spend a lifetime feeling powerless in the face of time’s cruel passage?

If you spent years and years wishing to change something about your physical appearance, you develop an “if only” mentality. It becomes a habit. Let me explain.

“If only” are the two saddest words in the English language. It means that you have to postpone your happiness, because there’s something you are lacking. Or rather, something is missing from you. It doesn’t matter what it is, but if you postpone feeling good about yourself until you change that one thing about yourself, then it becomes a habit, and when you do change it, you’ll instantly feel hollow and empty and purposeless until you find something else that needs to be changed.

What if you were to venture into the center of all your fears and insecurities, inside that hidden drawer of your soul, where you have locked away all your “defects,” only to discover there was nothing there to begin with? Only you being afraid of yourself, only you thinking that others care as much about your faults as you do (or are even aware of them). Only you, telling yourself, over and over again, that your flaws somehow define you.

It’s a funny world we live in today. We are desperately seeking to be what we think others want us to be. Guess what? The world will always be telling us that we’re not enough. We’re not smart enough, we’re not pretty enough, we’re not rich enough. If we let these words take root inside our brains and become a guiding voice, we will be forever doomed to go throw life feeling inadequate.

Here’s the harsh truth. About beauty. About money. Status. Intelligence. The world will ask you who you are, and if you do not know the answer to this question, the world will be more than glad to tell you. And you won’t like the answer. And if you internalize this answer, and think that men only get a hard on for those “perfect” Instagram models, and anything less won’t do, then you will be living in hell for the rest of your life.

See, hell is striving for perfection while knowing full well you will never, ever reach it!

22 Comments

  1. The key word here is acceptance. I see myself with many flaws both inside and out but I’m ok with those flaws because they are part of who I am. Scars whether they are physical, mental or emotional are memories of events that made you who you are today, the best you’ve ever been. Some see physical defects as ugliness but they can be beautiful through another’s eyes depending on the eyes and also the person the see. Outer attractive features can mean nothing if the person isn’t kind , thoughtful, caring ,funny and able to laugh at himself and have empathy for others. You can’t look at a person and see if they’re beautiful or not it takes time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve struggled with the concept of perfection for most of my life. Maybe it’s just how I was made or maybe it was my dad’s doing. He asked for perfection in just about everything I did. I suppose I could have ignored all that, but apparently I didn’t.
    “See, hell is striving for perfection while knowing full well you will never, ever reach it!”
    This is so true. I’ve substituted being the best that I can be on any given day, at any given time for perfection. But I do still get frustrated from time to time.
    I think you’ve done a great job of distilling the problem with perfection down to its essence.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dianne,

      I think that we must all come to the realization that we should strive for progress, not perfection. That being said, we should also strive to progress in the areas that positively influence the world around us. Make it so that our death does not leave the world a better place. Or the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always viewed “perfection” (excellence, etc.) as a lazy buzz word for people who don’t want to spend time defining it. I see it as a journey for personal growth. I’ve never aspired to be perfect because I can’t define it and therefore can’t measure it.

    I read Emerson’s essay, Self-Reliance, in 1985, and it changed my life. Though it would take too much time and space to explain here, Emerson makes a compelling case for being your genuine self (like Jesus, Socrates, Luther and others he mentions). He argued against conformity for conformity’s sake, and that’s what “perfection” is to me. It’s some lazy man or woman’s word, especially those who see themselves as inferior. I aspire to be me, and the best version of myself.

    Liked by 5 people

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