Perfection is Not a Myth.

Via Jennifer S. White
on Sep 10, 2013
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Why are we so obsessed with perfection?

We, as a society, value symmetry and perfection in facial features.

We—generally speaking, of course—long for “perfect” abs and “perfect” hair, yet the truly funny thing is that even if we had these “perfect” things, we wouldn’t realize it; we would likely see something else that’s unattainable as our symbol and glory of perfection.

I’m a rockhound and gem lover, and I’m gazing over at the amethyst that sits by my laptop when I write and it dawns on me that we even seek perfection in gemstones.


Is it this deeply ingrained in us biologically? Or are we that brainwashed by our own culture to think, not only that perfection is an unrealistic ideal, but that this long sought-after perfection is almost anything but what we already are (the qualities and traits that we already posses)?

In other words, if you have straight hair why would you want—and go to great lengths to have—curly hair (and vice versa)?

If you’re a naturally curvy lady, then own and flaunt your curves rather than trying to work and cram yourself into a more athletic body style.

So much of our personal and societal unhappiness, I believe at least, stems from this ‘the grass is greener over there’ mentality and from idolizing other people while devaluing our own self-worth.

It took me years to learn to love myself, and it’s something that I still work on.

While everyone has days when they’re feeling better about themselves than others, some people have more good days and others more bad—and I think this, ultimately, is rooted in comparison.

And isn’t that what perfection really is—looking at one thing while comparing it to another, with one coming out on top, the winner, and the other, by default, the loser, lesser and less ideal?

Merriam-Webster describes perfection as “freedom from fault or defect: flawless.” 

What, then is flawless? Further, what are flaws?

You look at yourself, whether externally or internally, and you assess something as less than desirable, or flawed—why?

Did someone tell you this?

Did you learn along the way that who you are or what you look like could be better and that you, exactly as you are in this moment, could stand some improvement?

I think we’ve all gone through an encounter in some form that left us feeling defective.

I mean, honestly, wasn’t grade school or high school basically a constant lesson in this for nearly everyone? Even if you were at the top of your class food chain, I have to think that you still occasionally questioned your own worth.

So as we go through life,  we’re learning that we’re defective and that something or someone else out there is better and worth emulating—and this might be the key to owning our already-existing perfection and to teaching our children and the up-and-coming generations that they are good enough, just the way that they are.

Because perfection isn’t a myth—it’s not that no one is perfect, but, rather, that we all are.

And that’s another ironic thing about perfection: Merriam-Webster also defines it as “maturity,” or “full development.”

Maybe it’s true that many of us are like fine wine, getting better—and more perfect—with age.

Yet here’s my real take on this definition of perfection: is it possible (just consider) that at each state in your own development you are always full?

Hear me out…

At this moment, right now, you are who and where you are supposed to be and this moment is complete and full—and perfect.

In short, in each phase that you move through, you’re flawless because your flaws and defects aren’t wrong; instead, they’re just there, existing with you in that moment in time and in your life and in yourself.

And you are perfect, as it turns out.

Perfection isn’t a myth.

Anything that you saw as defective was an illusion, because flaws and defects are subjective and you have the power and ability to decide for yourself your worth.

Because we, thankfully, are not fancy diamonds and rings from Tiffany—we’re living, breathing, perfect human beings.

There’s no jeweler examining you underneath a microscope (although sometimes you might feel inspected and evaluated); the truth is  we can’t control the opinions and judgments of others—yet we can control our own.

Your curly hair? It’s fabulous. Stop straightening it.

Your bootylicious body? It rocks. Work it.

All of us have something that others will deem ideal—or not—and that’s okay. It’s okay as long as we recognize that an outsider’s passing thoughts don’t have to concern us or define us, not really.

And here’s an interesting thing about flawed, yet precious, gemstones: an emerald, for example, is a variety of the mineral beryl, and trace amounts of chromium and occasionally vanadium are what give it its rich, green color.

Essentially, emeralds are desired because a colorless beryl is “flawed” by the inclusion of these metals, but we don’t look at an emerald as flawed because a flaw, much like beauty, lies in the eye of the beholder.

And maybe we shouldn’t be so concerned with why we’re obsessed with perfection.

Perhaps the real interest should be in how we define perfection, or flawlessness, in the first place.

Because your flaws are perfect.

We are all perfectly flawed.

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Ed: Sara Crolick





About Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She's also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.


4 Responses to “Perfection is Not a Myth.”

  1. @simonarich says:

    A beautiful post. It's so true – we're all perfect and we shouldn't compare ourselves to others that someone told us are perfect. Like the media tells us that the stars are perfect; however I see them as puppets whose contracts with large companies tell them how they'e supposed to look. It's sad that our young generation aspires to be just like them.

  2. Thank you for your feedback. Honestly, I try very hard to see celebrities also as ordinary people just like you and me in the sense that they, too, feel scrutiny and judgment and labeling, but then I recognize that I can't possibly even begin to understand the circus situation that is stardom.

  3. lisab says:

    Yes! We are all so perfectly imperfect. The Japanese have a term called "wabi sabi" which basically means that there is immense beauty in "imperfection". Really gorgeously spoken. Love this article.

  4. Jane says:

    Great point of view on this age old bugaboo. I think I'll swipe it for my next yoga meditation.