The Downside of Perfection

We humans tend to want to create perfection in ourselves, in others, in our relationships or in our work. Perfection doesn’t exist. Even if it did, I’m not sure it would be a good thing.

  • Harold Kushner, author of How Good Do We Have to Be? says that only god can be perfect. People can never be perfect because we’re human, and to assume we are is assuming that we can be gods.
  • Perfection means that you can never be wrong, that you never can grow. To me, failing to grow means you’re stagnating and dying, like the plants in my kitchen.
  • Perfection means that you’re never wrong and always right. That makes others wrong. That mindset is a block to intimacy because it fails to appreciate the reality, humanity and perspectives of others.
  • Perfection means that you can do no wrong. That means that you cannot look at what you do an eye toward improvement.
  • Perfection is a delusion that we cultivate but that fantasy is obvious to others. It’s like a joke that everyone else laughs at but we just don’t get, or the affair that is commonly known by everyone but the spouse. We are the only ones clueless to it.
  • Perfection is literally not pretty. Artists and craftsmen often intentionally add a flaw, because something that is completely pristine seems surreal and, ironically, flawed.
  • Needing to be perfect means we’re not being present. We’re ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. The present moment, on the other hand, is always perfect because it is the only thing that has any degree of certainty. Failing to be present also prevents us from accessing our positive emotion because we’re living in our head.
  • Being perfect is as un-human as immortality.   With no death, there can be no life (what would we eat?). Our planet would deteriorate as the living organisms co-existed in a zombie-like state for eternity. Sounds like hell to me.
  • Failing to be perfect does not mean that something is wrong. It means that something is right: that we’re living with humility and openness to the human experience.

Feeling imperfect can be painful. The realization opens us up to feelings of possible rejection and inadequacy. So the solution seems to be to embrace how you suck. Suck with style. Own it. Be proud of it.  Be even prouder of how you suck a little less than you used to.

In that vein, I’ll leave this blog as it is.   As they say, you really can have too much of a good thing.


4 thoughts on “The Downside of Perfection

  1. I did enjoy reading your thoughts, but sometimes people want perfectionism from their own perspective, not necessarily the ultimate perfectionism in the manner God would do things. Same people will try to find near-to-perfect relationships respective to their perfectionistic style. In all circumstances, perfectionism is too much of a burden to carry, and human styles and relationships will continue to be a mystery….

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