Over the weekend I saw an interesting status update on Facebook. Essentially it said, instead of trying to fix our flaws we should embrace them, understand them and respect their liabilities. Sally Hogshead, who posted it, is an author, speaker and founder of a company where leaders can learn how to use their personality strengths to add value.
She makes a very important point.
We are a society striving for perfection. We want perfect noses. Perfect bodies. Perfect hair. Perfect nails. Perfect mates. Perfect marriages. Perfect children. Perfect homes. Perfect gardens. Perfect lives.
And our obsession with perfection doesn’t end there. We want to be perfect at everything we do. Whether it’s how we do in school, how we do our jobs, how well we cook, how good we are at sports, how good we are at gardening, or playing the piano, or singing, or dancing, or doing our laundry.
Our flaws are a constant source of frustration and angst. And we’ll stop at nothing to get rid of them. Plastic surgery and Botox have become as common place as a trip to the hairdresser. We’re driven. We’re neurotic. And we’re making everyone around us neurotic. Including our kids, on whom we’re placing a huge burden of expectation.
Every time I see a promo for that reality show where little three and four year olds are put into beauty pageants, I want to stick my finger down my throat. After I’ve called the cops and had their parents arrested.
It’s ridiculous. And it’s really getting out of hand.
Young girls are going under the knife, for the sake of vanity. And I hear men are now wearing Spanx, the body shapers favoured by starlets. Help! When did we get this vain?
For that matter, it’s not just vanity. We hate ourselves for the things we can’t do, or can’t do well enough. Our limitations. We want to achieve the impossible, ‘our’ impossible; and when we can’t, when we fail, we feel we’ve let ourselves down. Our self-esteem plummets. And then things really get out of hand. Some of us really end up in a downward spiral.
Becoming anxious. Depressed. Turning to drugs and alcohol as a way of escaping. Overcoming. Or coping.
When did we forget we are human? And humans aren’t perfect. And humans make mistakes. And humans can’t excel at everything, all the time. We can’t do it all. And we can’t do it all well.
Name one person who’s perfect. Or who has a perfect life. Go on. Just one. I can’t.
Not even those we worship. The ‘star’ athletes and celebrities we can’t get enough of. Whose lives we want to emulate. Most of them are flawed. Badly flawed. They’re not physically perfect, even with all the nipping and tucking they get. With all the stylists and gorgeous clothes. They’re certainly emotionally and spiritually and morally damaged.
Why do we accept their flaws, but not our own? It make no sense.
Learning to love ourselves as we are, warts and all, doesn’t mean we have to settle for less than we’re capable of. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t want to look our best. And be our best. We should want to make the most of who we are.
But it’s time we looked into the mirror and saw someone we liked.