Perfection & the Beauty of Imperfection | Why We Strive for Perfection

Being perfect is unrealistic. Perfectionism can come from fear, criticism, and trying to chase a dream that is impossible. Ways of learning to accept the imperfections in life come from the realization that perfection doesn’t exist, that imperfections are creative and unique, and that we can learn from our mistakes and embrace our weaknesses.

—CHAPTERS—
4:01 – Embrace Imperfections
7:43 – My Experience

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Do you strive to be perfect? Does perfection exist? Find out now.

    Woman showing the perfect sign.
    © Piotr Marcinski

    Hi everyone! We are going to be discussing perfection and perfectionism, as well as the beauty of imperfection. Perfectionism and the need to be perfect is a trait many of us have. We strive at making things perfect in our life. Perfect job, perfect relationship, the perfect life. Even the work we put out must pass our perfect standards. Perhaps things have to be in a certain order, a particular way, or just with some sort of organization or element that makes it perfect.

    Perfection circled in red
    © zimmytws

    How do we define perfect? What may be perfect in our eyes could be flawed in another’s eyes. So how then do we determine what is universally, objectively perfect? The truth is, we can’t. Perfection doesn’t exist and these expectations are unrealistic. We can never and will never be perfect, but the drive to be something we cannot obtain often causes us stress and anxiety, making us feel inadequate and worthless. We may spend too much time trying to make things perfect in our life that we begin to neglect what is really important. Things like our own happiness, friendships, and anything else we have in our lives. It takes so much time to do things to our perfection that we may never be able to live up to our own standards and it makes us feel even worse.

    open fortune cookie - YOU WILL NOT BE PERFECT
    © Casey E Martin

    With perfectionism with our work, maybe we have a boss that we need to live up to their standards or we face being fired. This is a big one since we fear losing our job, so we will do anything to make sure we keep it. Or even perfectionism with our own tasks and work. If we are involved in creative endeavors, perhaps we try to make our own projects perfect before deploying them to the general public. This could even be due to a fear of criticism. Yet if someone criticizes our work when we think it’s perfect, then what?

    Angry boss shooting his employee on deadline, employee dodge und
    © artitcom

    What about perfection of the physical body? There are all things we don’t like about our physical appearance. Perhaps our nose is too large, or we have acne, or any other so called ‘flaw.’ We may feel nasty and disgusted with ourselves because of these things. They may even make us feel insecure with our own body image. We may think others don’t love us because of these flaws.

    Belly of a young woman with tape measure
    © Angie Lingnau

    And let’s also not forget our ideal, perfect relationship. We’re not just talking about friendship, but also romantic relationship. We may have so many things we may want, that another person has to give us before we consider them worthy of our love. This quest to find the perfect relationship of happiness, love, acceptance, and openness often ends with us feeling lonely and empty as it simply doesn’t exist in the world.

    Perfect match, vector set
    © beaubelle

    All of these types of perfections are ones that occupy our time and make us feel bad about ourselves and our work because we will never find them. But how then can you learn to accept the flaws life gives us and find the beauty in imperfections? Let’s talk about that now.


    Embrace Imperfections

    The first step to embracing imperfections is what we just talked about, to realize that there is no such thing as perfect. Perfect is subjective in nature and means something different to everyone. It also is held on a pedestal of greatness that is too farfetched to actually exist. Perfection is the idea you have in your mind that you think will make you the happiest and show off your skills the best. But in fact, it’s the slightest flaw in your work that not only can stress you out the most, but also provide the most beauty.

    These flaws are sometimes seen as creative and unique. Creativity comes from things that are often flukes. Things you didn’t mean to do. The reason for this being that perfection is boring. Perfection is what you envision in your mind and what you desire. Then when you embark on the path at creating this ideal thing, you become frustrated that you cannot force it to be how you want it. But with the right attitude, you will see the creativity and work you put into what you did make the project. The flaws in anything is what makes it interesting and unique. Going with the flow of ideas brings out this creativity. It’s only a flaw if you view it as such.

    Flaws with our work helps us learn and get closer to our ideal image. By ideal image, I do not mean perfection, but rather something we are working hard towards. For instance, you start a project with an idea that could be too far to bridge the gap so to speak. But in time, you’ll lay the steps and parts of the bridge to get you to the other side. You cannot just get from one end to the other without effort and work. Taking it at a reasonable pace will allow you to achieve your desires. Accepting where we are now and settling for what is ideal in our lives at the given moment and working towards our future, will get us to that future where we would be more efficient, and be able to produce higher quality work and material, in a shorter amount of time.

    Man on bridge
    © peshkova

    Relatedly, there are plenty of things that will be or weaknesses and strengths. But what we can do is learn to be more self-confident by embracing both our strengths and weaknesses. We are our own worst critic when it comes to judging ourselves. Others will not see it the same way as us. We pick on every little thing, from how we look, think, behave, our work and projects, the list goes on. If we continue making things that are flawed and don’t have our all in it, we will not feel a sense of accomplishment, but rather one of frustration and unfulfillment, emptiness. To fulfill our lives and be more confident, we have to learn to accept the flaws we have. If we made a mistake, we have to learn to laugh at ourselves and not take it as a sign of failure.


    My Experience

    I wanted to briefly touch on my own experience with perfection and perfectionism. I had to have everything perfect in my life, and everything was on a perfect schedule. If something was off, I would get stressed and become filled with anxiety and feel like a failure. Each little thing had to be rigorously checked multiple times to ensure it was perfect. This was good in a sense since the final production looked and sounded amazing, but not in that it would take an excruciatingly long time pulling it off.

    Let me give you some examples, one big thing was when I started making YouTube videos. I needed to have things perfectly right from the very beginning. I was thinking so much about how to pull it off that I spent more time planning than I did actually doing what felt right. This actually got worse over time to the point that I was overworking myself. I had a rigid schedule I made for myself that limited my ability to do anything. I was so stressed with making things perfect that my health started to deteriorate and become affected by this. I no longer enjoyed what I use to once love.

    When you are working in a professional, creative field and creating professional content, like what I consider this material that I do, you do have a sense of quality to maintain. But, it doesn’t have to be my ideal standards of perfection. As long as it is to my ideal level of, “Wow, that’s good and looks good,” then that’s all that is needed. I am content with how things are with my content and don’t feel the need to improve it because it’s the best it can be at this moment. I like it and think it’s amazing. If no one else thinks this, so be it.

    Another example I have is with being transgender. Trying to find and have that ideal female body and shape. For trans women, this is an unrealistic idea. It can then result in disappointment. I know there have been things I have wanted to change about myself. Like I was too tall, my shoulders and upper back too broad and large, my hips not big enough, and so on. What I did in time was accept those things about myself. Oh no, not accept them, embrace them. I like being tall since it has many advantages. I like my larger shoulders and back and show that off and do exercises to build strength and muscles. I like being transgender since it has allowed me to learn so many wonderful life lessons and experience life as both sexes. I embrace all of me since that is all I can do. I can’t hate myself or wished I was someone else, someone I’m not. I can only be me and accept myself willingly and fully.


    Conclusion

    So in conclusion, being perfect is unrealistic. We feel the need to be perfect for many reasons, including fear, criticism, and trying to chase a dream that is impossible. Ways of learning to accept the imperfections in life come from the realization that perfection doesn’t exist, that imperfections are creative and unique, and that we can learn from our mistakes and embrace our weaknesses. I hope this information was informative and helpful to you. Have a wonderful day!

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    Notes

    Having been a perfectionist for most of my life, I knew this started to create problems for me when things needed to be so rigid that I had no freedom. I needed to have order and specific dates and times, which I would get so upset when I missed deadlines and timeframes. It bound me until I could learn to let myself be free and more spontaneous.

    Also, this video idea came about due to a friend who also talked about perfection. After watching my friend’s video, it inspired me to talk about this topic as well and I ended up writing the entire script in one day.