Perfectly imperfect

If there was one word in our language that I wish we could eliminate, or at least redefine, it would be the word “perfect.”  Actually, not the word itself, but rather the idea that we are somehow inherently less than or in need of being improved upon,  and that the only way to experience a life of happiness, joy, and freedom is to be, do, or have something different than we are already being, doing, or having.

The irony is that in our quest for perfection, as we have largely come to understand it, we are blocking our own ability to see ourselves as who and what we truly are, which is – ironically — perfect.  The expectation bar has been set mighty high by many of us.  And buried deep beneath its many complicated layers of judgment and insufficiency lies the opportunity for each and every one of us to experience our natural state of wholeness and completeness.

For many, life has become a distorted sort of treasure hunt, a mission, a goal-oriented conditional experience:

If only I had more money, then I would be able to buy the big house on the hill and have designer clothes and even that bright red sports car…because that would bring me happiness.

If only I had thinner thighs or larger breasts, then I would attract a partner who would desire me and finally have the relationship of my dreams…because that would bring me love.

If only my house was always clean and organized, then I could finally relax and read those books which are collecting dust on my bookshelf or have the time to take that yoga class…because that would bring me peace.

If only I had a better job, then I would make more money so I would be able to buy the big house on the hill and have the designer clothes and even that bright red sports car…

If I had all these things, finally my life would be perfect.

And the cycle is perpetuated – want, strive, push, want, strive, push, want, strive, push – which still does not produce the outcome we think we are supposed to have, which causes us to push harder and strive more, leaving us utterly exhausted and mentally drained and completely detached from any notion or concept about who we really are.

Does a state of “perfection” exist?

What would it actually look like if it did?

Why do we yearn to be more?  To be better?   And why are we willing to trade in our happiness in exchange for a concept that demonstrates itself over and over and over again to be unrealized?

Is “perfection” something that we are capable of experiencing beyond perhaps the exact moment we are born into this world?   There are some who would say even a newborn baby is not perfect, that they, too, come into this world flawed, in need of fixing or improving upon, to the degree that they are actually in need of forgiveness.  Is that conceivable or even possible?

I sense that there is some level of perfection woven into the universal tapestry within which we find ourselves a part of, some purposeful fluidity that encompasses each and every one of us, even though the collective cognitive grasp of what that might be seems to lies just beyond the boundaries of our understanding.  But I also believe that we are provided momentary glimpses into this realm of deeper understanding, demonstrated by numerous occurrences in my own life where an experience of overwhelming sensation of goodness and joy fills me and reminds me that there is a harmonious energy at play here in the seemingly random happenings in my life.

So today I will celebrate my imperfections, I will laugh at the choices that feel like mistakes, and I will be grateful for all the “wrong” turns I make and awkward or embarrassing things I might say.  I will stop wishing I was that and feel appreciative because I am this.  I will open my heart to extend the same appreciation and kindness to all those who share this life journey with me, knowing that these are the moments that I believe are best described as, well, perfect.

“If a snowflake is utterly perfect in its design, do you not think the same could be said about something as magnificent as your life?”
~ “Conversations with God” 

(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

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  • Terri Lynn

    Love this piece, Lisa. Perfect is such a big, little word. In my younger days I was a total perfectionist, always striving and never fully satisfied with mysellf. Many years ago my young son blurted out to me, he was probably about 9 or 10 years old, ” Mom, there’s a new definition of perfect!…just the way it is.” When he said that to me those words shook my whole being and I realized what I was doing to myself. Over time I learned to let go of the need to be so perfect and I adopted the attitude of: I may not be totally perfect but parts of me are excellent!
    Today, I can honestly say I am more relaxed about me and who I am. I still work at bettering myself and do the best I can do but when I get caught up on being perfect I remind myself that this life is not all about me and remember those words my son said to me some thirty years ago.

  • Great article Lisa. I often say of physical life that it is perfectly imperfect. If it was all perfect what would we do? We are in a place where we can experience both perfection & imperfection.

    Have we not all experienced perfection at times? A beautiful fall day, a perfect meal, perfect timing etc. There is beauty in imperfection. Look at cool old house or a old car in a woods, or mistakes that make beautiful art or scientific or spiritual discoveries.

    “So today I will celebrate my imperfections, I will laugh at the choices
    that feel like mistakes, and I will be grateful for all the “wrong”
    turns I make and awkward or embarrassing things I might say. I will
    stop wishing I was that and feel appreciative because I am this.
    I will open my heart to extend the same appreciation and kindness to
    all those who share this life journey with me, knowing that these are
    the moments that I believe are best described as, well, perfect. ”

    That is perfect, you don’t take things so seriously & thus perfection is seen in many colours.

    Life is perfectly designed to include imperfection & create the contextual field of

    Great topic!

    Magically,

    -Marko

  • Maria Yunker

    Thanks for the reminder! I have also used that phrase “imperfectly perfect” and it has helped me through the years remember to celebrate my fumbles and and have compassion for perceived flaws. Recently I have found myself become really anxious, not actually terrified that I won’t manifest the life I desire if do not perfectly align all my thoughts with love, I am not perfectly empathetic and non-judgmental in my mind. It may see irrational although to me it feels very real, like a trial. I know I could benefit from lightening up…thanks again for sharing your insights. I agree that accepting my own “mis-takes” will open the door to accepting others and for me that is the key to loving unconditionally.