In the context of the history of humanity, the word ‘perfect’ is almost brand new. For the vast majority of our existence here on the big blue ball, there was no such term. It arose relatively recently (in the 13th century) and its original meaning was to finish or complete. Sadly, in 2013 it’s come to represent something completely different.
As much as any other message, in 2013 we are constantly being prompted to chase perfection. Apparently, it’s what we all need. And apparently, we’re not there yet. On many levels, we’re being told that our current state is not our ideal, optimal or perfect state. Something is missing. We’re encouraged not to ‘settle’. Whatever that means. According to the Purveyors of Perfect, to be happy where we are, with what we have, is to deny our potential. To compromise. To miss out.
Tell a Buddhist that.
And not only are us grown-ups being bombarded with these messages but so too are our future grown-ups. Our kids are also being force fed the “you’re not good enough as you are” mantra. Anything short of perfection is failure. Over time and with just enough obsessive and irrational behaviour they, like us, may very well achieve the perfect life. The perfect body. Face. Career. Family. Outfit. And then one day we’ll all live happily ever after in our perfect houses in our perfect locations with our perfect partners. And our perfect children. Of course.
Because that’s exactly how life works.
Such strange and unhealthy messages to send a bunch of imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world. But then it all makes sense when we consider where the messages come from. On many levels, our perfection paradigm is an unhealthy reflection of our obsession with the fairytales sold to us via marketing, movies and media. It may not always be blatantly articulated but more often than not, the underlying and subconscious message is “we sell what you’re lacking”.
Perfection, as it’s revered and pursued in our culture, is an unhealthy lie. A myth. A human construct. A marketing concept. In many cases, it’s a story told by people who want to manipulate your mindset and behaviour to buy what they’re selling. And while it means different things to different people, the pursuit of it rarely leads to anything more positive than anxiety, insecurity, self-doubt and misery.
There’s something to be said for gratitude, awareness and contentment in the present moment.