No matter where I travel, nature is one of my favorite attractions. I always love to watch people rushing down a busy street who pause to admire plants in bloom. Yet, when they take a closer look they must realize that each one is imperfect. No two blossoms are exactly the same size, some have been dusted with dirt, and others have torn or fading petals. Like people, each is unique, or as a friend once said, “perfectly imperfect.”
I couldn’t think of a better place as a backdrop for this post than the conservatory. So here are my ten reasons why demanding perfection does not lead to happiness:
1. No one is perfect. Requiring perfection in yourself only sets up a pattern of discouragement. On the other hand, striving every day to be the best you can without demeaning self-judgment is uplifting and helps you improve.
2. Happy people are fun, kind, and genuine. Would you rather be with someone who has those qualities, or a person who always has to be #1, is consumed with looking perfect, and spends so much time and energy on herself that she cannot focus on others? Personally, I’d pick the first one, and I’ve found that trying to be that person makes life far more satisfying.
3. Happy people spend quality time with family and friends. We live in a society focused on numbers. We count our Instagram followers, Facebook friends, and Snapchat views. The totals supposedly measure our appeal. Conventional wisdom says that the higher they go, the closer we come to a perfect social life. I don’t agree. If you had to choose, would you rather spend quality time with a close circle of family and friends, or trying to get an impressive number of “likes” on a post?
4. Imperfection can be perfectly endearing. Whenever I’ve been with a man who was so smooth his lines sounded rehearsed, I longed for someone who spoke from the heart even though each sentence wasn’t perfect.
5. Seeking the perfect mate is a recipe for disappointment. No mortal can maintain that standard. Search instead for someone who is “practically perfect” in the ways that matter most to you.
6. Living in a world of perfect clones would be perfectly boring. If every year, every male looked like the man named the world’s sexiest, they would all be identical. I don’t know about you, but I would rather be with an original.
7. Some of the most appealing people are downright quirky. Maybe they have a slightly off sense of humor, or a funny laugh. Those seemingly imperfect qualities can make them lovable.
8. Having a balanced life brings rewards. I meet so many people who are wearing themselves out trying to succeed. Yet, I’ve found that I’m most productive when I make relaxation and fun part of my schedule.
9. Freeing ourselves from immediate, unrealistic expectations can help us reach our ultimate goals faster. Reaching for perfection and being dissatisfied when it is beyond our grasp causes stress. Research shows that we perform best when our stress is manageable.
10. Happy people know whose life they are living. Often in our quest to become perfect, we focus more on what others want us to be than on what we want for ourselves. This creates conflict, whereas being true to our own values creates harmony.