“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it!”. Those were the words of Salvador Dali. I wish I knew them (and their meaning) in my childhood or in my adolescence years.
I come from a culture where image is everything and where perfection is the norm. In all you do. Perfection is displayed in fancy jobs, in flawless relationships, in sublime vacations. Like in a well-taken picture, every single detail must be impeccable. The light, the colours, the smiles, the background. Every little thing must be in the right place. In this tacit and invisible play, social media became the useful tool to show the perfection and the perfect environment to promote it.
Ambitious and whispered standards that society silently invites you to obey, are making the unspoken rules of the game.
Most of the parents accept and expect from their children only the highest grades. They cannot talk with their co-workers unless their children have the best school results. You would not want your peers to think that your child is not bright enough. It is a must for toddlers to learn to speak a foreign language before they can express in their mother tongue.
This culture of perfection, of perfect orchestrated images, became a culture of comparison. A culture of comparison difficult to escape from. This culture of perfection, of perfect displayed images, makes it a culture of heavy burdens and an unacceptable place for making mistakes. Making mistakes became the synonym of the failure.
I was lucky enough to be raised by a very open-minded mother, a rebel of her time, a misfit who decided to write her own rules. Despite my upbringing in the light of the wise rebel soul, the societal context has left its marks on me, much deeper than I would like to admit. And I still carry the scars left behind.
All the years I have spent living abroad didn’t manage to completely heal the wounds for which I needed courage to confront the source. I grew a bit wiser and a bit stronger and now I can look up and challenge my fear of making mistakes. I am still hunted by the frightening process of comparing myself to others, by useless questions of what others might think, by fear of not being perfect. And in spite of all mentioned here, I came a long way. I still fell from time to time in these traps, but I am learning to avoid them.
I am allowing myself not to be perfect, at least not according to other people’s standards. I am deciding what is the perfectly imperfect way that works for me. This liberating switch in my own mentality brought me courage to try, courage to fail, acceptance for what is and for the way my life looks like. I am allowing myself to make mistakes and I am immersing myself in the beauty of learning from this process.
We must acknowledge and understand that trying and failing, testing and making mistakes is key for increasing the speed of our development, of our growth. Thomas Edison once said, “I failed my way to success”. He was a wise man and I think we all can learn from his example. And like his story, there are many more out there.
As an adult, I learned that failing is good. And I am still learning how to be comfortable with it. Making mistakes is the paved, and secure way towards success. I had to learn to become my biggest supporter and not to blame myself for not reaching what I was aiming for, from the first attempt. It became a patience exercise as well. Multiple attempts require time, awareness of all resources you must use and willingness to expose to the world a flawed self.
We are all different and we all have different paths to walk. Trying to reproduce what has already been done, is convenient. We can look at other souls and find inspiration, learn from their example, from their struggle and create our own way. Would not be a waste of energy and effort just to replicate, when you can create your own masterpiece?!
We are all trying to do the best we can and putting unnecessary pressure or setting up unrealistic goals dictated by the social norms, instead of helping, is hindering us.
We are divine creations and part of a mysterious and magical universe. We are unique spiritual beings. Would not be a waste of our limited and precious time in this lifetime to constantly compare or blame ourselves because we have not achieved what society made us think we need?
Make mistakes and learn from them! Harm no one and please, do not harm yourself with unhealthy thoughts. Become a better person and enjoy the process! Do not blame or shame yourself if your road does not look like the one you had in mind when you started the journey. Look around and marvel at the view and be grateful for how far you have gotten. May this not be the perfect way but is a certain way to discover yourself and to learn what and who your authentic self is and means. Your mission is to discover who you are, irrespective of what society expects from you. Redefine your own perfect – imperfect way of living and being and show it to the world. Your example might inspire others to do the same.
Lots of love,
Sharing Simple Words