Friday, August 19, 2011

What is Perfection?

Are you perfect? Yeah, me too neither.

I think about what being perfect means far too often than I should. I think about it when I'm cleaning my house. I think about it when I'm getting dressed. I think about it when I'm putting on my makeup. What is perfect? Who is perfect? It sometimes feels like this idea is haunting me.

You probably know someone who you perceive to be perfect. As women, we do this to ourselves all the time. We meet someone who seems to have it all: an amazing body, perfect skin, good looks, lots of money, a huge house and a handsome husband. Sometimes, she even has several good looking children. (Which, you know, makes the flawless body thing even more annoying.) How does she do it? We envy her. We even maybe wish we could be more like her. It's like somehow every stroke of good luck on planet earth fell upon this woman and the rest of us feel fat, ugly and inadequate in comparison.

Here's something you need to know: she's not perfect. You aren't either. So, what is she then? Well, she's probably really, really good at hiding her imperfections. Or, she is practically killing herself to hide the cracks in her foundation. Maybe she wouldn't ever admit it, or maybe she's too proud to say so, but she's not perfect. Something in her life is wrong. She, in some way, was dealt a poor hand. No one, truly, can have it all.

But it's easy to forget that, out there in the real world with real pressures and a drive to keep up with those people we think are perfect. Maybe you're the girl who kills herself to hide the cracks. Maybe you're humble enough to admit that despite what others might see, you have split ends and your laundry room has enough clean clothing heaps to secure yourself a spot on Hoarders. (Guilty as charged!) Really and truly, it doesn't matter what it is--it just matters that it is. It matters that you learn to embrace your imperfections, and are willing to understand that everyone else has them too. Even when they aren't obvious to the outside world.

I have wasted a lot of time trying to be perfect. For years, I have struggled with body image. It's my Achilles heel, if I ever had one. I used to think my body was the only thing that stood between me and perfection. When you focus so intently upon something, like your body, it will never be good enough. You really won't be able to actually see it as its viewed through other's eyes. It will always be inadequate.

I understand that I am thin--some might say too thin. I wear a size 0. I dig through clothing racks for an XS. But, some days all I see are my stretch marks (yes, I have them) and love handles (I have those, too). I focus on my own faults because I can't see what everyone else sees---I cannot see the forest for the trees.

I'm not saying this because I want you to feel sorry for me with my poor skinny body and my terrible size 0 clothing. My point is that everyone struggles with their body, even those who don't have a weight problem--and those who should be deliriously happy with their dress size. Happiness and perfection are not found in a clothing size, no matter what anyone tells you.

"Perfectionism is slow death." -Hugh Prather


Karen said...

Love it!

Jami said...

What a great post! I have finally learned to be comfortable in my own skin.

highheels2flipflops said...

Um, yeah. I understand this all to well. I have had 3 kids and my body changed with each one. I always compare myself to what I "used" to look like and will never be again. I am okay with that because I have 3 precious little gifts with me. But that doesn't mean I don't critic myself every morning over it. And as far as looking to other women and being envious, as a mother I know this as well. I always see other moms who "have it together". The perfect kids, clean house, dinner made every night, perfect clothes, car, husband... Man I could go on and on! I am learning to embrace and love myself. It is a journey though. Thank you so much for sharing and letting me know that I am not alone.

ashley said...

lovely post. i struggle with this too. i'm trying to learn to let go and stop obsessing over follower :)

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

I HEAR you! Oh, do I hear you. Us skinnies are never allowed to join in on the body frustration discussions...but I've got the love handles and stretch marks, too.

Love this post. Perfection is a myth!


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