On Not Being Perfect

I hardly find perfection attractive. Hardly. Ever.

If someone were to approach me with an attitude that they somehow lead a perfect life, had perfect relationships, and knew everything that there was to know in the world – I really wouldn’t believe them, or think well of them. Not for a second. It’s unrealistic, and a prelude to a boring outcome.

 “Perfect, he, as a lover, might have called them off-hand. But no — they were not perfect. And it was the touch of the imperfect upon the would-be perfect that gave the sweetness, because it was that which gave the humanity.” – Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles

Spiritual Life Coach, Jordan Bach, just happened to release this video (above) that really reminded how much of that is such a core part of my everyday life. I don’t want, or even remotely need, fantasies to lead a good life. I live a life of empowerment, in full acknowledgement of my imperfections. It is not, really, that they exist that should derail goals that I have for myself. It is precisely how these personal flaws, and stumbles, are interpreted – by me – that really makes a crucial difference to how I live my life.  According to Legacy Magazine‘s article by Jon Jokial in the , “Interpreting a tragedy: a personal perspective“:

It is easier to form connections to a significant event that occurred recently, and being present at the event makes it more personal. Personal recollections and media images from those present at the event form a kind of collective memory that is passed down to the next generation. This facilitates current connections. It makes the event more realistic for an interpreter who interprets at a site connected with the event. The momentous 9/11 event created many tragic stories, as well as inspirational accounts demonstrating compassion and hope. Current interpreters have their own memories of this significant terrorist attack that occurred over a decade ago. The horrific actions that day generated profound emotional connections for most people, especially those directly involved or impacted by the event. For example, they recalled exactly where they were and what they were doing at the moment the planes hit the Twin Towers.

Each generation seems to define itself by memories of specific historic events during their lifetime. For example, members of the boomer generation vividly describe their memories of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, considered the most remembered and painful recollection of their time.

As interpreters, we often craft presentations that examine various outcomes. What if a particular historical event had unfolded in another way? What if I had run the marathon slower and been in harm’s way? What if I had not connected with my wife before the bombings? Contemplating dangerous outcomes, or the “what-ifs,” deepens our emotional reactions, offers greater clarity, and often leads to powerful emotional connections.

Eventually, clarity about the meaning and significance of the terrorism attack at the Boston Marathon allowed me to share my experiences and to recognize the common emotions experienced by most of the nation and world that day. The real-life relevance of the experience showed me that an effective interpreter describes events and puts them in proper context for others to understand, a process that is enhanced by sharing our own personal stories.

Interpreters who share their own personal story makes it easier for others to relate to the event and to become willing to share their personal story. Realizing that emotional and intellectual bonds are different for each person, the interpreter plants a variety of possibilities in the minds of the audience. As I later retold the events of the day to concerned friends and family, I found myself in the role of interpreting my own story within a national story. Even though the event seemed surreal (that bombs could be detonated at a sporting event), this identification helped me to accept the reality about what had transpired.

These meaningful universal connections have taught me that interpreters can guide people to deeper meanings that help them to heal and let go of their painful emotional burdens. Our purpose is not to tell others how they should feel about an event, but to guide them to accept the reality, relevance, and meaning of their own personal experiences and insights.

“No one is without their difficulties, whether in high, or low life, & every person knows best where their own shoe pinches.” – Second Lady Abigail Adams to her sister, Mary Smith Cranch, March 21st 1790

Reflection remains an everyday practice as a guide to a healthy lifestyle. This is why religion remains a non-existent component. I do not feel that my flaws, my shortcomings, or my failures are a loss. I’m not invincible, because I certainly have stumbled, and will again. It may even hurt. It may hurt a lot. I, however, will have the confidence, and ambition, to get back up again, and continue moving forward. It’s a crucial life skill within a sharpened life philosophy.

“To be acceptable is for one to ignore his weakness while knowing his strength, to cover the scar even though it’s always there, however, to be impossible is for one to see his weakness as, not an adversary, but the cherry on top of his strength, to rearrange the scar so that it compliments his features.” – Criss Jami, Killosophy

I understand that life is really too short to waste on worrying, on fear, on insecurity, on self-doubt, and the constantly trying to get the entire acceptance of others – especially since there are some people who simply will  never, ever accept me no matter what I do, what I say, etc. Why waste my precious time on this? It’s simply not worth putting this existence of a mayfly in that predicament. It doesn’t have to be. I have a choice.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” – Criss Jami

Perfection is not happiness. It is a deep unhappiness. Far more easy to be insecure the moment that perfect fantasy is shattered. Once perfection is achieved, what goal in life then? It is not happiness, because it is a nightmare. Nothing is more important than not being perfect, nothing else really reminds us of the simplest, tiny things more than imperfection.



One thought on “On Not Being Perfect

  1. Pingback: On Hipsters | The Progressive Democrat

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