Do you ever have one of those moments where someone you love and admire says something so wrong, and you think
– OMG, did I really just hear them say that?
Suddenly that person comes crashing down off the pedestal you placed them on.
After you get over your sadness, hurt, and anger about whatever happened, maybe you realize… that was a good thing. Why did I put them up there in the first place?
We all believe in fairytales in one form or another, and one of the biggest ones out there is the tale of perfection. Media promotes it, advertising tells us to strive for it.
That B+ is good, but it’s not an A. An A would be perfect.
My book got published! But it’s not on the NY Times Bestseller list. That would be perfect.
I won a silver medal at the Olympics! But it’s not gold, and gold is perfect.
We all run afoul of the enchantment of perfection. We are programmed to only focus on the win, the super duper bestest most perfect possible outcome. And we expect to be able to achieve this perfection, while maintaining every other aspect of our lives. We want to be super hot, and super smart, and super respected, and eat super well, and be a thought leader, and never get stressed, and have excellent relationships, and be a great civic leader, and, and, and, and, and…
What happens to the people living in this fairytale land? We feel dissonance. There’s a disconnect between what we are and who we feel we ought to be, leading to issues with our body image, our relationships, our personal and professional lives.
We also force our expectations of perfection on those around us. We only see the public-facing sides of most people. Those shiny perfect hulls. We hold them up as something to aspire to, and when that hull cracks we crucify them. How dare they appear so capable, and all this time they had a nanny to help them out. How dare they have allowed me to admire them, and all the while they supported X, or didn’t partake in Y. Once they fall from that pedestal, it’s a loooong way down. Their ‘crimes’ are amplified a thousand times over by the broken trust we placed in them.
Ask yourself – what unrealistic measures am I holding up for myself and those around me? And what’s the outcome when things don’t measure up? When I spot a flaw, does it become all I see?
Well hold on for a second. Let’s play the flip side of that album and appreciate what is.
Take a moment to look around you and see all the magic that is happening in your world.
That person, who you discovered wasn’t perfect, is still really amazing.
You entered that bike race and crossed the finish line.
You set yourself a goal, and you stuck to it.
You were mad at your partner last night, but they still cooked you dinner.
For every positive trait, there is a flaw. And for every flaw, there is a positive trait. No one person is made up of all flaws, or all perfection. This is what is means to be human.
I love animals, partly because they don’t partake in fairytales. Whether they go crazy with joy every time you walk through that door, or look at you and say ‘pff’ but sidle over for a cuddle later – they love you unconditionally! They don’t care how fast you can run, or how much money you make. They don’t take out a measuring stick every time you mess up. They love you for just being you. Isn’t that something we can all learn from?
So get out there creative genius, and love and appreciate who and what you are, and who and what others are, because they are exactly what they are meant to be. Love like your pets do, unconditionally.