Live lightly Education

The fallacy of perfection

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Dear Life,

Did I tell you how often I forget to say hello to a new day?

How often I forget to notice the brilliance of the seasons slipping in and passing by.

Have I shared how often I forget to think before I speak?

How often I dither in saying sorry and forget to thank one for being there for me.

Have I mentioned that gratitude, generosity, empathy are not my constant companions? Often, I need to be reminded of their sheltering presence for sanity and equilibrium.

Have I recounted how often I pretend I am the victim?

How often I make amends for my errors and plead helplessness,

How often I feel like the imposter on stage — about to be called out,

How often I wing it, till there’s nothing left to chance.

You also wouldn’t know when I struggle to belong, right in the midst of family and friends. I have kept it private when I feel superior to everyone in the room, also the many times when I sink, drowning in my inferiority?

Dear life, I forget too much; I am unmindful too often and I react more often than I respond. I often find it easy to complain than to take charge. If you walk in on me, you may catch me count the thank-you and sorry that I imagine someone owes me, and the approval I deserved and did not get.

I am so imperfect, dear life.

They constantly try to escape

From the darkness outside and within

By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.

But the man that is shall shadow

The man that pretends to be. – T.S. Eliot, The Rock

Why do I mourn these things? Who imposed these requisites for perfection? Is perfection possible? The Oxford Dictionary meaning of ‘perfection’ is the state or quality of being perfect. ‘Perfect’ means having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be; a state of absolute or complete. Perfection is subjective, an individual notion borne of a vast history of conditioning — cultural, historical, familial; from education, life experiences, incidents and accidents.

We humans are a bundle of imperfections and contradictions and, at the centre of it, we are moored in conscience — the true-north that anchors us to patience, empathy, perseverance and a constant desire to be better. It allows us to see the humanness of the one in front. When, just like when I mourn, we experience longing for meaning and to be valued, we ought to realise we are simply being human. This humanness helps us understand the terrifying feeling of being the only one-of-a-kind. And the comfort of belonging.

This is the circle of life — flawed yet constantly bettering itself; picking up after a fall and getting audacious again: because breaking down also bolsters the process of becoming more human, to become less imperfect than before.

Dear life, I am perfectly imperfect.

The writer is a freelance writer, blogger, and life coach. nivedita@lifealigncoaching.com


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 9:28:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/the-fallacy-of-perfection/article31711117.ece

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