“You were born to be real, not to be perfect.” ~ Ralph Marston
If you’re anything like me (e.g., a human), you might feel, well…like a human—slipping and sliding…bumbling and fumbling…blundering and plundering your way through the twists and turns of life. As we navigate the journey, we trip. We stumble. We fall. And like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we eventually stand up. Then, we repeat this process, ad infinitum. And here’s why: We are anything but perfect. In fact, Webster defined perfection as “freedom from fault or defect”, “an unsurpassable degree of excellence”, and, wait for it…“the quality or state of being saintly”. Hmmmmmm. No wonder why deleting the word perfect from our vocabulary sounds like a good idea: If ‘life’ is a whirling, swirling process of reframing thoughts, regulating emotions, adjusting attitudes, adopting values, and adapting to the many challenges that await us, well then…one thing’s for sure: “Perfect”, we are not.
When perfection becomes the baseline for our self-judgments, we run into more than our fair share of problems. The pursuit of perfection causes us to establish standards that are impossible to live up to, which causes us to look in our peripheral vision at what others are doing and, yep—compare. When we play the comparison game, we begin to devalue our efforts and, eventually, we despair. And as the death grip of despair crushes our spirit, we enter into a downward spiral of dejection and defeat. So, what’s the bottom line? When we obsess about the impossibility of perfection, we lose our senses of reason and objectivity…and our mind. Yet, when we develop an eye for imperfection, we keep the “I” in identity. And integrity. And inspiration. And individuality.
Fact: Perfect is a lie that we tell ourselves about who we think we should be—one that blinds us from the truth about who we really are. When we “kiss perfect goodbye”, we stop living the perfection “lie”. We feel better about being a “mistake magnet”. We begin to believe that “ooopsies” are normal and feel more comfortable owning our error-prone ways. And suddenly, the idea of trying feels exciting because we no longer fear what might happen if we do. Remember, we’re cool with mistakes—not simply because we’re “human”, but because mistakes are often what it takes to learn, grow, and elevate ourselves to the next level of humanness…and awesomeness.
So, let’s begin to appreciate the power and beauty of being human. Let’s embrace our (very wide) margin for error. Let’s have an attitude of gratitude for the “happy accidents” that occur at various points on the journey—you know, the stuff that inspires us to adapt, transform, and evolve. Let’s be cool with tripping, stumbling, and face planting all the way across the finish line. When we humanize ourselves, “T.R.Y.” becomes our muse, our mantra, and the motivational mojo that stands for “The Real You”: A completely incomparable, ruthlessly real, and perfectly imperfect soul—on a mission to “defy the lie” of perfection and embrace the uniquely human (and authentically awesome) being that exits in all of us.
Don’t just “be”. Be(YOU)tiful…
About the Author: Joshua GARRIN is one of Your Monthly Mentors, an Award-Winning Health Psychologist, Author of “The I-Way to Well”, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, and Self-Motivationalist. He holds a Ph.D. in health psychology, an M.S. in cognitive psychology, and a B.S. in general psychology and journalism and currently resides in the Hudson Valley region of New York. Following the completion of his doctorate in 2014, Joshua was the recipient of Walden University’s Harold L. Hodgkinson Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research for his inquiry on health beliefs, outcome expectancies, and stress appraisal in college seniors. Read More…