Why I dislike the word “perfect”

I am a words person. I love words. I think words have meaning. I think words have value. I think words leave impressions and I think words have the power to influence. Lately I have been thinking a lot about the word “perfect.” What it means, what it symbolizes, and how it is used in our daily vocabulary. And to be honest, I dislike the word “perfect.” Why are we so quick to call people perfect? To label things as perfect? To strive for the idea of perfection when it might not even exist?

I have wanted to write this post for a while and the only thing that has stopped me until now was trying to figure out how I wanted to start it. So, instead of worrying about the “perfect” introductory paragraph, I am just going to write…

Lets start by stating the obvious, the concept of perfection is not universal. Perfection, or the idea of what is perfect, is unique to an individual’s perception. It’s subjective. John might think the perfect woman has brown hair and green eyes. Jack might think the perfect woman has blonde hair and blue eyes… Whats a woman to do? Who’s idea of perfection is correct? Why do we get so caught up in trying to attain perfection when perfection isn’t universal, it isn’t a standard that you can reach and please everyone. Perfection, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

So… if we can’t achieve everyone’s idea of perfection, why can’t we try to achieve our own idea of perfection? Of course we can try, but in reality we won’t achieve it, no matter how hard we try simply because we as humans are not meant to be perfect (wait, what even is perfection again?). We are designed to be flawed, make mistakes, learn from our errors. To constantly strive for perfection and pressure ourselves to be perfect would drive us crazy and the worst kind of pressure in life is the pressure you put on yourself to be perfect.

Even if we did achieve our own idea of perfection, is it possible to maintain? Or would it only make us more obsessed with being perfect when “next thing” in life occurs. No matter how hard we work, there will always be “something else” that needs to be perfected. It is a never ending cycle. If we achieved our own idea of perfection would it set our standards so high that nothing but our idea of perfection is acceptable? Chasing after something so fleeting, like the idea of perfection, is an uphill battle you might not win. And if you win, at what cost is it to your health? Your mental sanity? Your happiness, well being, and quality of life? I don’t think perfection equates success, a high quality of life, or happiness. You can have a happy life without ever once being told you have the “perfect” home and you can have a successful career even though your job isn’t “perfect.”

Why isn’t it good enough to just work hard and try our best and appreciate the outcome even if it isn’t perfect? Why don’t we feel 100% accomplished if the end result isn’t our idea of perfect?

I’m not saying to settle in life. I am not saying to set low expectations for yourself. I’m not saying to not work hard. What I am saying is to let go of the idea that perfection is achievable. Take the pressure off yourself to always be on point, to always have your shit together, to always have the answer or know what the next step is. As soon as you stop expecting yourself to be perfect you might just realize that not being perfect really, truly is perfect.

“One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist” -Stephen Hawking

What are your thoughts on perfection? Is it possible? Do you try to achieve perfection in every area of your life?

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