Why You Should Strive To Be Imperfect
Do you ever feel like the things you make or do need to be perfect?
You worked in your kitchen all afternoon, whistling your way through preparing The Big Meal for the graduation party.
You felt proud. You felt excited. You felt relieved.
A lot of planning, concocting and organizing had come together to make this a special spread. You could hardly wait for the first bite to be taken. This was going to be one of your best-ever creations!
As you sat down and put your feet up you ticked through your mental checklist, savoring all you had accomplished thus far. Ahhhhhhh……
And then…it hits you.
You forgot to add those last three ingredients to the sauce, the ones you had set aside for safe-keeping.
You feel deflated. You feel mortified. You feel embarrassed.
What can you do?
How can you experience any joyful satisfaction when things do not turn out “just right”?
We’ve all been there.
You think you want or need perfection: in yourself, in what you do, in others.
You squander so much time seeking the perfect meal, personality, look, relationships, family, job, vacation, home, pet…you get the idea.
You think that when you find that perfection everything will fall into place and your life will be smooth-sailing from then on out.
But that is not how it works.
More often than not, once you achieve one “perfection” you immediately begin pursuing another. And the cycle never ends. You never allow yourself to truly enjoy your accomplishments before looking for the next hurdle to conquer.
So, listen, a couple of tips on why you should strive to be imperfect.
“You were born to be real, not to be perfect.”
This is the truth.
Yes, there are certainly times when perfection is necessary for the health and safety of us all.
We want our health care providers to be perfect in performing procedures and administering medicine; architects and tradespeople to be perfect in designing and building structures; pilots to be perfect in flying and landing planes; manufacturers to be perfect in making tools, vehicles, equipment, etc.
The expectation for perfection in such areas is essential.
However, there are other areas in life where perfection is not a necessity, but a preference. It is in these areas that you might consider cutting yourself some slack.
Like Ralph Marston said, you were born to be real.
In being real, you bring your own personality, strengths, likes, dislikes and desires to the table.
- What may be “perfect” for you (a blackened, well-done hamburger) may be far from “perfect” for the next person (a seasoned, juicy, pink-in-the-middle hamburger). How interesting would the world be if everyone’s “perfect” was the same?
In being real, you reveal your human-ness and vulnerability.
- Your genuine self is presented to world, open to the thoughts and support of others.
In being real, you embrace your own assets and weaknesses.
- Through your experiences you learn to have compassion for yourself and, in turn, for others.
In being real, you are given the opportunity to form connections.
- You have certain abilities that someone else is lacking, so they reach out to you and you have the opportunity to share that ability. And vice-versa, you reach out to someone else for support in areas that you do not feel strong or confident in. This giving and receiving forms bonds of trust and comradery.
One big take-away from being real?
You realize that you are perfectly imperfect.
~ Peter H. Reynolds
What does that mean?
One lesson to be learned from Peter H. Reynolds’ children’s book, Ish, is that things do not need to be perfect in order to be valued.
When you look up the suffix ‘-ish’ in the dictionary, you will find it is described as: having the characteristics of; like; near or about; somewhat.
In the children’s book, Ish, Ramon LOVES drawing and thinks he is pretty good at it, until one day his brother’s remark causes him to doubt his abilities and he gives up drawing. His little sister reignites his love for drawing when she tells him how much she treasures his vase-ish and tree-ish and flower-ish artwork.
Just like Ramon, sometimes all you need to nurture your joy is to give yourself permission to live ishfully.
In doing so you take the pressure off yourself, thinking that you need to do things perfectly or else. You can be and do things almost perfectly, and feel successful.
You also gain a certain freedom in knowing that perfection is not the expectation (or maybe not even the desire). You are willing to attempt things and take more risks knowing that your personal best is what is valued.
Is your house clean-ish? Great!
Did you run ninety-ish percent of that marathon? Fabulous!
Was the shopping trip quick-ish? Super!
Sometimes things do not need to be perfect. They are cherished for the passion and love poured into doing them and for coming close to the goal.
Aim for the stars, strive to do and be your best, and embrace how close you get.
And, an “ah-ha!”
Sometimes imperfections lead to new and awesome things!
You know that you have experienced this.
You didn’t have enough paint for all four walls so you painted one wall a totally different color, and wow!
You took a wrong turn and ended up finding a cool new park.
You forgot to add the last three ingredients to the sauce and now it tastes less tangy and more meaty. Score!
So many styles, inventions, compositions, etc. are the result of an original idea not working out. What new and awesome things can you create and be by embracing your imperfections?
As you go through your days, when thoughts of needing to make and do perfect things pop in your head, just remember, you can experience joyful satisfaction when things do not turn out “just right”.
“You were born to be real, not to be perfect.” ~ Ralph Marston
“Live ishfully.” ~ Peter H. Reynolds
Strive to be imperfect.
If the sun is shining, my Crosstrek is calling me to fill up her tank, throw open her sunroof, and head for the back-roads. With wind in my hair, I smile at everyone I see. Grace smiles back at me (even through the trees).