Do you refrain from taking action because you think you are not good enough or not ready yet?
Do you set impossibly high expectations for yourself and others?
Do you freak out every time you make a mistake or you don’t live up to your or someone else’s expectations?
If so, you may suffer from the perfectionist “syndrome”.
Nowadays, more than ever, people strive for perfectionism.
We are bombarded and brainwashed by magazines, movies, and social media every day; we are told what we should look like, and what we should be able to do.
The media leads us to think we are not good enough as we are, that we need to be perfect to fit in.
I bet that, like me, when you scroll through social media you wonder: “What’s wrong with me? Why does everyone else’s life look perfect when mine is just chaos"?
The amazing pictures and videos we see day in, day out show us how perfect and beautiful other people’s lives are, but they don’t show us the entire picture, they don’t tell us the whole story.
The picture of the beautiful villa you see doesn’t tell us about the broken marriage behind it; the bikini body doesn’t tell us about the eating disorders, the masculine body doesn’t tell us about the steroids, the brand new fancy car doesn’t tell us about the mortgage signed to buy it, the businessman full of money doesn’t tell us of his loneliness, etc...
The real world does not consist of perfect Instagram or Facebook characters.
We are anything but flawless! Nobody’s perfect, and our imperfections are actually what makes us interesting.
Striving for perfectionism makes it hard for us to show up authentically and genuinely.
When we strive for perfectionism, we simply focus on pleasing others.
Paradoxically, being imperfect makes us real and relatable.
Just think for a moment: When do you most often connect to your fellow human beings? When you share your successes and victories or when you share your insecurities, fears, unmet needs, quirks, and struggles?
When you share your “weaknesses”, don’t you?
That’s because everyone has struggles to deal with in their life; so people are more inclined to listen to your setbacks, rather than your amazing accomplishments.
Remember: Behind every success story lies a path of failure and determination.
People who truly love you don't expect you to be perfect; they expect you to be authentic.
Embrace your imperfections, and let others see your flaws; don’t be ashamed of them, be proud of them and discover the beauty hidden within them.
Choose today to accept yourself just as you are, and let others see your true self rather than hide behind a facade of perfection.
Let me clarify what I stated above through the following inspirational story.
THE CRACKED POT
Once upon a time, there lived a monk; one of his duties was to go to the well and collect water for the monastery.
He used two large pots hanging at each side of a bamboo rod that he carried over his shoulders to deliver the water.
One day the monk noticed that one of the two pots had a slender crack; despite that, he decided not to get rid of it.
By the time he reached the monastery, the cracked pot was half-empty.
For the next year, he went to the well every day filling the 2 pots to the brim, and every day he delivered one and a half pots of water to the monastery.
The pot without cracks was proud of itself, of its accomplishments, and started mocking the cracked pot which felt unhappy and ashamed for its flaw, for being able to do only half of what its brother could do.
One day, the cracked pot apologized to the monk for what it considered an imperfection, i.e. its crack.
But, the wise man smiled and said: “Look at your side of the track! What can you see”?
“There’s plenty of flowers”, the cracked pot replied.
“Exactly, I have always been aware of your flaw.
However, I decided to keep you with me.
I planted flower seeds on your side of the track so that every day for the last year you have watered them on our way back to the monastery”.
The monk went on: “Thanks to your crack, I’ve been able to pick these beautiful flowers and embellish the monastery.
If you had not been just the way you are, now the monastery wouldn’t be so beautiful and fragrant”.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Like the cracked pot, we all have imperfections and flaws, yet if we take a closer look and don’t jump to conclusions, we can realize how these imperfections make us real and unique.
"People call these things imperfections, but they're not, that's the good stuff!", as Robin Williams states in the thought-provoking movie ‘Good Will Hunting’.