Day 168. Too Obsessed

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 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand 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.

26 thoughts on “Day 168. Too Obsessed

  1. I read this in a “blink”, and that’s a good thing. The concept of embracing our foibles and flaws in central to my own core convictions. 🙂 It’s in the embracing that you truly get closer to who you really are is how I see it. If anything in this life I’d like to at least be happy with who I am.

    • Completely agree. If we’d spend even half as much time on what we like, instead of what we don’t like, about ourselves think of how much better off we’d be. And how much happier. Not to mention all the money we’d save.

      • It’s ridiculous. To me anyway. But to each his own. Mistakes, blame, wrong, fault, etc are not words that are in my vernacular. They are all part of the big pot we need to just stir and everything’s “okay”. 🙂 People may wanna calm down haha

      • You’re so right. It’s all just too negative. They are all part of a bit pot. Yeah, I think people MAY wanna calm down 🙂 Get over it, already. 🙂

  2. Well don’t get me wrong I’m a compulsive mistake maker but I try to take away from it. And my flaws are WAY too many to name haha But there is no magic pill or instant fix for anything really so taking things in stride and keeping things in perspective is just really important to me. If you can’t impact real change why fret about it?

    And on a personal note you got to witness my hissy fit yesterday over my “free ramble” piece and whether it was really appropriate to post and was “blog worthy” as a finished piece of writing or should be kept private. I decided on private haha

    It made me sick! But in the context here of your post, I was yes obsessed about it and it was very flawed in my eyes from one perspective, but part of the overall “stew” from another. 🙂

    • I make tons of mistakes too. It’s how we learn. I have never denied myself the opportunity to screw up. I don’t want to be perfect. I think it would be boring as hell. And there’d be nothing to write about, nothing to laugh about, nothing to even cry over. And there’s nothing wrong with having a good cry.

      As for yesterday, it’s entirely your call. I thought it was honest and so very ‘real’ and human.

      • Yeh the humanity of it was totally fine and it wasn’t without merit on the idea side, you know the “intent”. The problem was it was supposed to be free writing and it was successful on that front. Then I wanted to “fix” it;. At that point the whole thing became mute and it was time to move. And you know, breaking up is hard to do! No editing, no polishing, no making it worthy because that wasn’t the point from in the first place! 🙂 I appreciated you taking your time to read it like I said. I figured I had to go through the exercise of it being maybe someday I’d have to tell someone I did it or something idk

      • Ok now I get it. Agree it had to stay free rambling. It was totally not a fix-it piece. If you couldn’t leave it alone you did the right thing. I do love the idea of it. Maybe you will try again, some time. When you are ready to live with the fact that the very thing that makes it perfect, is that it is imperfect.

        You are meticulous about your writing. That’s why it was so difficult for you. There is very interesting learning there.

  3. This post and your mention of the word negative Fransi reminded me of a poem I wrote back in the dark ages must go suss it out and see if it is worth putting out into the blogosphere.

    • That’s a very good thought. I think we do. I think we are probably more self-absorbed now than at any other tine in history. Probably because there is so much available for us to ‘fix’ ourselves with. We’ve become sitting ducks for those who are selling all kinds of unnecessary products and services. We’ve played right into their hands. Maybe another post??

  4. My lesson from the weekend: three year olds don’t care about perfection, they care about DOING. A lot of doing. They care not if the tower their building is straight, if their painting is still on the paper, if their hair is brushed. Aunt Julie got the message.

  5. This is very true. I do believe there is room for self improvement and we should strive to be the best of ourselves; and I do believe that some flaws should perhaps be worked on – but I think you’re right in saying we should have realistic goals for ourselves and stop being neurotic or self flagellating. It doesn’t get anyone anywhere in the end, beyond as you said, depressed.

  6. I understand your discussion in regard to perfection and the desire of some, or most, to attain such. However, I must take a teensy bit of an exception to Sally’s point of view. To make genuine attempts and possible success in improving oneself and one’s own flaws is a noble thing. Of course, I don’t refer to physical attributes. To these, we certainly should ‘understand them.’ My exception to her position is in ’embracing’ our flaws. Call me a cynic if you will, but it’s just too cute. Acceptance, maybe, but to embrace a flaw? Sounds like something a politician would say. However, without having read the status update, I won’t throw the baby out with the bathwater…

    • It was a short statement so I don’t know exactly where she was coming from. My interpretation is, we can’t all be perfect (not just physically), so learn to like who you are. That might not have been her intent at all. It’s what I read into what she said. Unless I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, you’re talking about ‘language’. You’re ok with ‘accepting’ one’s flaws, but not ’embracing’ them. I don’t agree or disagree with her. I don’t agree or disagree with you. What is important, to me, is that regardless of ‘how’ we choose to express the thought, we all agree on the essence of it: We all have flaws. Each and every one of us. Know yourself well enough, to know what your flaws are. If there’s work that can be done to correct them, do it. But better yet, learn to live with them. Accept yourself for who and what you are. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Comments make my posts so much more interesting then they started out to be.

  7. I agree completely with the point you are making: people are far too obsessed with perfection in many forms and it can be a serious problem. On the other hand, too many people feel that they “deserve” things, don’t need to behave properly towards others because that’s “just how they are” and act with a sense of entitlement and lack of respect. We need something in the middle!

  8. Our generation is the same as the prior generations. Nothing has changed. The only “new” item is the ability to re-sculpt our bodies surgically. The English were famous for their bejeweled clothes, corsets (men and women), 3 foot high hair. Fashion and beauty and “perfection” is a core desire in people who are dissatisfied with their life. Every generation simply add their own unique twist to how to achieve this “perfection”. As a Christian, I certainly have my views on the core of dissatisfaction, but I live with the same temptation for perfection as anyone else. My hope, though, is that my body will be perfected after I die. For me, it makes living with hip handles a little easier. 🙂

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