How to become perfection

We’ve been told this a lot: Perfection is an illusion. It’s something you should never aspire for. Let go of the idea of perfection and embrace your ugliness.

It’s why we’ve lately come to take serene comfort in imperfection.

As a kid, I had a skimpy fluorescent t-shirt with the following words on it: “Nobody is perfect. I am nobody.” As the t-shirt outgrew me, I understood the transitive logic: If nobody is perfect and if I am nobody — wait a minute, that means: I am perfect!

With that eye-opening introduction, here’s Perfection.

Perfection is a feeling we’ve all experienced. It’s that feeling of unstoppability and achievement where you click a selfie to validate how awesome you feel and everything and everyone seem just fine and you don’t want to change a thing about you or anyone else.

We’ve all been there. Everything seems so strange, so new, so…perfect. Even your dumb face looks pretty. Perfection feels good after all. Because contentment generates the same feeling. So does happiness. So does love. So does gratitude.

And they all have a common enemy: Reality.

Perfection is an ephemera inside reality. It’s an illusion just as much as unconditional love or unbound happiness is. While you’ll sneer at anyone that tells you to be perfect, your heart will be tickled if someone says you must love unconditionally. But they are both telling you the same impossible thing.

We thrash perfection because it can be limiting – before and after reaching it. The path to perfection is annoying, frustrating and tedious and makes people want to punch you in the face. Not to mention, the path is unknown. Still, we continue to experience moments of perfect snow-flakeyness. What terrifies us is that the moment won’t last long enough. Instead of enjoying the moment, we begin to fear it.

The problem is not in the moment itself, but in our attempts to make it last. Feeling perfect is normal. Living inside that feeling – not so much.

Our problems with perfection begin when we became loyal to the moment. When the very hard-work and drive that got us all the way to experience that moment vaporizes once we got there. Instead of being humbled by the moment, we feel it is where we always belonged and must do everything to remain in it.

Every time we settle into that moment, reality catches up to slam-dunk us on the face. In a way, that’s how we have grown. That’s why we need perfection. Because it’s a closer representation of our aspirations than most other things.

Perfection and life are similar in that they both sacrificial.  With life, you make giant sacrifices people barely notice. With perfection, you sacrifice the one precious moment you felt. You don’t know if life will ever be the same again just like you don’t know if you’ll feel that moment ever again. You sacrifice because that’s the only way to keep going – to keep living – to move forward.

You can’t be afraid of feeling afraid of this inexplicable something called perfection. Perfection is not the mountaintop you stare at. Because you can’t be afraid to breathe the air on top and still make the climb.

Like life’s sacrifices, you can’t be afraid of perfection’s own. Each sacrifice is like jumping off the metaphorical mountain. Sometimes, you’ll build wings on the way. Sometimes you’ll crash and feel like shit. But, that’s how you learn to fly. That’s how you learn to live. You aren’t chasing perfection. You are chasing better sacrifices. You are learning to let go. Perfection is the climb.

 

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