– A blog on the art of the expectation of perfection.
The way I see it, there are two types of perfection seeking…
1. The perfection we expect from ourselves; and
2. The perfection we expect from others.
As some of you guys know, I teach yoga every Saturday for Dirt Cheap Yoga (a non-profit). The owner (Gina Fore) coined a phrase that I absolutely adore, and wish I had penned myself: “Perfection is overrated, go for awesome”. Well, that’s what I’m here to rap about today. I say, forget about perfection. Just forget about it. Take it, put it in an envelope, mail it off to the North Pole for Santa to read about when he’s deciding whether you’ve been naughty or nice this year. Instead, go for awesome! That’s what this blog is about. Awesomeness.
We live in a society that places a ton of expectations on us from a young age. Maybe you’re expected to grow up to be the type of respectable woman that wears make up and heels every day, except you feel like an alien when wearing anything other than ripped jeans and Chuck Taylor’s. Maybe you’re expected to grow up to be a doctor, except you’ve never dreamed of anything but rock superstardom. Maybe you’re expected to get married and have children, except that you just haven’t quite found anyone that fits the bill. Yet. Maybe you’re expected to sit behind a desk everyday pushing paperwork around, except you can’t sit still long enough to do anything with the papers besides shove them in a drawer and plot your escape from cubicle hell. Maybe so. So what. You’re awesome. Just the way you are.
Have you ever noticed that at some point we take these societal, parental, managerial, and even professorial expectations and internalize them? Eventually they become our very own reality and prison. We believe we’re supposed to be what everyone else says we’re supposed to be. How could EVERYONE be wrong? Surely what I am must be wrong instead. When we fail to stand up for our true selves, we literally become a prisoner to ourselves. Our Chuck Taylor wearing rock star gets stuffed down inside of us, and our entire existence winds up being a painful experience that never feels quite authentic. Am I suggesting quitting your job and taking your act on the road? NO! I’m suggesting owning who you are, loving it and being it. Being true to yourself. I’m suggesting that happiness, real happiness, is your choice. Every single minute, of every single day. Every second you are making choices. Every second you are setting the course of your life – whether it is to be true to yourself, or to be true to someone or something else. I submit to you that if you spend your time doing what you think is right, and being true to yourself, happiness is the only possible outcome. If you don’t believe me, just try it! Like Tom Cruise said in Vanilla Sky – Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around. If this at all resonates for you here’s a call to action: Start here. Start now.
So on to the second type of perfection seeking. Do you expect perfection from others? Are you upset when someone is late? When they forget to close the mini-blinds or use a coaster when you asked them to? When they don’t do something the way you would have? How about when they don’t act the way you want, respond to you the way you want, dress the way you want, clean the house the way you want, pay the bills the way you want, load the dishwasher the way you want or just in general do what YOU want and how YOU want it? How dare my daughter, boss, boyfriend, neighbor, landlord, friend or dog not be perfect, when I am so utterly perfect myself! I think Clapton sang it best – before you accuse me, take a look at yourself. I was taking photos with my yoga friend Jen the other day, and we picked up our photographer Sarah, who said that her boyfriend’s great-grandmother Alice had once said that for a long life, you should: “mind your own business, walk and be happy”. Hmm. I dig.
In summation: we all come from the same place and are made up of the same stuff. You’re awesome. I’m awesome. We’re all awesome. So, if you find yourself in the trap of trying to live up to others’ expectations, or having overly high expectations of others, why not try being just a little bit more awesome to yourself and everyone else around you? What could it possibly hurt? You might even wind up a little more happy, and a little less stressed out.
Love and peace,