Seeking perfection is a recipe for failure. We will always fail in our efforts to achieve perfection, as by definition, it is unattainable. Interestingly, in the media, sometimes in sports commentary, often with parents and in other effusive and hyperbolic contexts, the phenomenon of perfection is projected or pronounced. But it is never so.
Indeed, the pursuit of perfection should be discouraged. For example, for young women with fragile self-worth, or similar scenarios where an external vested interest may be encouraging it. Instead, we can choose to pursue excellence, personal best, integrity and so on, but avoid being encumbered with the burden of the impossible.
Furthermore, we can learn and appreciate that the natural world is imperfect, and that is what makes it special, unique, diverse and adaptable. If we are willing to embrace imperfections in all its forms, in relationships, in aesthetics, in the performing and creative arts, and so much more, we can learn the value of tolerance, the ability to accept others as they are, with their differences and flaws. In so doing, we can be less conflicted in our interactions with others, have realistic expectations of them, and so find ways to live in harmony.
Even our efforts to build and sustain harmony in relationships, in communities and across countries will be imperfect in form. Sometimes it is messed up, sometimes there is failure, crime, disobedience, violence, and worse. But we keep striving. Not for perfection, but to be better than we have been. Effectively, by giving ourselves and others the permission to be imperfect, we liberate all to just be the best versions of each other.
For many, our perfectionist tendencies have been nurtured as a combination of parental behaviour, societal expectations, peer pressure and other miscellaneous factors including capitalism and marketing, competition for finite resources.etc. Nevertheless, as we mature, are educated in critical thinking, and seek wellbeing, hopefully we can learn to celebrate imperfection. We do it in nature, let’s do it with each other too.
Speaking of nature, please reflect on how imperfect it is, yet at the same time so wonderous, awesome and often beautiful. I tender another image below as a gentle reminder.
Footnote: If you are wondering about the image above, then let me explain my interpretation. Conflict arises when we become intransigent, we get stuck with a rigid belief, and we lose tolerance. We disregard that people make mistakes, and before we work through the imperfection, the conflict escalates, sometimes into all out war. Conflict resolution requires compromise, the willingness to embrace an imperfect solution rather than prosecute for so much more. Sadly wars will continue, because we are an imperfect species (as are all), yet ironically, we witness such extreme heroism. (Almost) all peoples are fundamentally good, just not perfect.