Picture Imperfect

It seems as though I’ve run into a lot of people lately who are walking around with a perfectionist complex. Actually, it’s more like “dragging” around since they have this massive weight attached to them, one that has the words “error-free” written all over it. They think and act as though they must execute everything flawlessly, lest they be labeled a failure. Sounds like a tremendous amount of pressure to me – and I should know; I’ve “suffered” under the weight of this complex most of my life.

Here’s the thing – the act of being born into this world implies that we’re not perfect. If we didn’t have lessons to learn, brought about by our missteps and misgivings, we wouldn’t be here. So where did this idea of perfection come from anyway? A simple reach into your past and I’m 110% certain you’ll find your answer.

What would it be like to give up the notion of perfection? (After all, it is just a notion.) If the thought makes you feel a bit anxious or slightly terrified, you’re not taking a deep enough breath. Breathe deeper and relax into the idea. And think of the people you know who are seemingly floating on a cloud while you’re relentlessly dragging around a ball-and-chain (or two.) Sure, “floaters” care about doing and saying the right things; it’s just that they’ve abandoned the weight of pressure and anxiety for the weightlessness of joy and freedom.

In a thoughtful move away from contrived perfection, I applaud the folks at Marie Claire magazine who made the decision to publish this month's issue (the French edition) free of retouching or airbrushing. Why, it’s nearly unimaginable, isn’t it? “The issue includes wayward eyebrow hairs, knee creases, loose fabric and - gasp - an imperfection or two.” While we can only hope the rest of the (publishing) world follows suit, our culture of perfection would hardly allow for those wayward eyebrow hairs to see the light of day!

No matter that this quest for perfection looms larger than every one of us, the point is to simply let go of the idea. (Besides, everyone’s so obsessed with their own need to be perfect that they don’t have time to notice you!) And the truth is, you’re fine just the way you are and just the way you aren’t, anyway. Does that mean everybody will like you? Of course not, but if that’s the object of your perfection, you’ll drown (if not in your own tears) trying to get there. You see, once you really get that you’re okay just the way you are (as Billy Joel might say), you’ll be able to cut the anchor loose, swim to the surface, turn on your back and effortlessly float, not walk, on water. (Ahhh...perfect!)