Thursday, 20 March 2014

In Praise of Less Than Perfect

Perfection.  To ME.

We use the word "perfect" far too often.  The truth is, perfection exists in only a tiny way.  A 100% test score can be described as a perfect result.  But as people, we rarely achieve "perfection."

You can reach the top of your chosen career, but that's not to say you're perfect at it.  Why?  Because we're human.  And humanity is not perfect.

We are all, without exception, imperfect in some way.  I don't mean because of some religious context; I'm not saying that none of us can be perfect because of Eve and the apple in the garden of Eden.  I'm saying that it's a simple truth.  We are, none of us, perfect.  And that's okay.  In fact, it's more than okay.  It's our perceived flaws that make us who we are.

Take the woman who is, in my eyes, the most beautiful person who ever lived.  Audrey Hepburn believed that her nose was too big and her neck was too long.  She didn't see herself as beautiful.  In fact, it was her "flaws" that made her so incredibly unique; her long neck was elegant and swan-like.  Her nose?  Well, if she thought hers was big, I'd hate to hear her opinion on mine.  Yet, Audrey was stunningly beautiful and is still considered a fashion icon, despite not being "perfect."

I won't lie; I had my hair cut short in the hope of looking Audrey-esque.

It's my opinion that perfection doesn't really exist.  Why?  Because perfection implies that there's no room left for improvement and here's a newsflash:  There always is.  You can be an incredible singer, but that doesn't mean you stop practising and trying to push yourself to hit notes you've never reached before.  You can be an amazing dancer, but that doesn't mean you decide to give up learning new moves. 

And as I said, humans are, by nature, flawed.  Take me, for example.  I can do elegant, when required.  I can put on a smart dress, speak nicely and pass for a proper lady (get me, Eliza Doolittle).  But the illusion will be quickly shattered by one of my biggest flaws - I'm the clumsiest person I know.  Give me something precious and I'll almost certainly drop it.  It's a wonder I'm allowed to hold the babies at work...  I trip over more often than I care to admit and I'm forever bumping into things.

But the fact is, I believe there's someone out there who'll see me as perfect, in spite of my physical and personal flaws.  Because whilst there's no such thing as being perfect full stop, there's definitely such a thing as being perfect for someone.

Once upon a time, I believed that I had to try to be perfect.  It's only as I get older (ha, I manage to make 31 sound ancient, don't I?!) that I see that perfection is impossible and the most important thing to do is to be the best we can be in life.  To be kind and considerate to others and to aim to do as well as we can in our chosen career.  We''ll make mistakes, we'll get things wrong and there'll almost always be someone who's better than us at things.  But that's okay.

Aiming for perfection sets you up to fail.  You're trying to be something that you can't be; you're looking for an end goal at which point you don't need to try anymore, because there's nothing left to achieve.  Aiming to be the best you can be is much more realistic and it encourages you to acknowledge that you're only human. 

I'd rather be someone who recognises her flaws, but does her damnedest to be the best version of herself she can be, all the same.  As the saying goes:  Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.

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