The idea of perfection causes struggle from a young age. I tell my son, “No one expects you to be perfect. We only expect you to do your best. It’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are part of learning.” These are the wise words that we tell children. It is wisdom lost in a mirror’s reflection. It’s as if we believe that at some age we stop learning, that we are not allowed to make mistakes once we reach adulthood. Perhaps we need to be reminded again, like when we were children.
You are not, nor will you ever be perfect. The perfect spouse. The perfect parent. The perfect person. Attempting to attain the unattainable is misspent energy. And you know what? You don’t want to be perfect. Perfection is overrated.
Imperfection is beautiful. Any flower will tell you this is true. This is more than a philosophical pondering, but a subject of science and art. Give me the haphazard placement of branches on a tree over the parallel lines of a building. Perfectly symmetrical faces don’t seem natural. There is something perfect about subtle imperfection. For all of the things that are wrong, there are more that are right.
Imperfection is a sibling of Free Will. We are not bound to perfection, we are bound to choice. Wrong decisions are made, no matter how much time is spent deliberating. Thinking that a perfect decision is possible is a deception, and one that creates the daunting task of doing what is impossible for us to do. Imperfect people with Free Will inevitably dig deep holes and try not to fall in.
Smaller, everyday holes have a special beauty. The kind of holes that make the road a little bumpy and interesting. Tiny holes as unique as the person with the hand shovel.
Therein lies the personality of the people whom we love. The sleeping too deeply. The burning of dinner. The mud tracked into the house. Annoyingly unique and wonderfully imperfect. Quirky and stumbling over our Free Will like we’re supposed to be, like we can’t help but be. Perfect in our imperfection.
Release the fantasy of perfection. No one expects you to be perfect. Just do the best you can. Stretch yourself, make mistakes and learn from them. It’s the only way to grow.