Friday, November 1, 2013

The Illusion of Perfection

Several weeks ago, months perhaps, I met with a young woman whom I mentor.  It was a beautiful day.  The sun was bright in a sky of cobalt blue, and the air was cool.  We found a table outside and chatted over coffee.  I was glad to see her, as it had been awhile since we had met face to face.  She looked beautiful, yet there was sadness in her eyes.

I asked her what had been going on in her life.  She began rumination of my question, started to speak but soon stopped. With apparent trepidation she expressed she had difficultly discussing herself, her problems and her life because she held me in high esteem.  She imagined I was perfect.  She said that she wasn't sure I would understand her and she had been struggling with speaking to me honestly about it. I was given pause. Me...perfect?  I almost laughed at how ridiculous that idea was, until I saw she was dead serious.

How could I help this girl if she had no idea of who I really am?

So I opened up to her.  Showed her my true colors by touching on some of my own struggles.  As it dawned on her that I was certainly not "perfect", she relaxed, smiled and laughed.  It brought us profoundly closer. It turned out to be the most insightful meeting I've ever had.

It filled me with hope, as if tattooed on my wrist. Which, as you may be aware, is. Hope eternal.

Perfection.  The elusive status that we all seem to desire, even when we know it is impossible to attain.  We are human after all,  which means we are perfectly imperfect. However...that doesn't stop us from pretending. Myself included. It seemed I was getting rather good at acting.

During my later review of our conversation, it dawned on me I am guilty of keeping my skeletons, my flaws, my weaknesses, etc. closely guarded.  My logic (loosely termed) could be; if I keep everything outwardly pretty then no one will know my secret demons.  But they exist.  No one, especially me, is perfect.  I suddenly realized I'm not doing myself or others any good by not being true to myself.  In fact, I am creating my own turmoil. That is not the way I want to live my life.

To thine own self be true.

The mentor became the student. And isn't that the way it should be? Learn from each other. Something clicked that day.  A new journey had begun.

I am not perfect, but I have learned to embrace that and am falling in love....with me.

Peace, xoxo


  1. Well, I'm not afraid to laugh at myself when people think I am something I am not. None of us are perfect, and sometimes it's good to show others that we think and feel like them. It makes us more human to those who don't know us well.

    You don't have to reveal every hidden nook and cranny of your life to all, but at times you may need to let them know that you fully understand where they are coming from. I have no shame in also saying, I'm not perfect.

  2. Aw...thank you :) Good to be back!

  3. When I was an assistant professor, I found that I learned as much (maybe even more) from my residents than they did from me. As a young teenager, my "mentor" was Julia Child, the great French chef who wasn't afraid to make mistakes on camera and show you how to fix them. She had no desire to project a perfect image, and that's what I loved about her. Observing how she dealt with her culinary mishaps gave me some ideas about growing up and adulthood, namely that striving for perfection is a hollow arrogant goal. Humility is the key ingredient in adapting to life's twists and turns.

    1. Kris, you are so wise and such an inspiration. Thank you :)

  4. The only perfection any of us can ever achieve is to accept ourselves as we are, warts and all.

  5. This post has a universal message :- learn to live with your own inner self. I have always liked the observation that:- 'the builders' own house is in need of repair', 'the doctor doesn't look after his/her own health' etc...... and 'the counsellor refuses to address their own mental conflicts'

  6. Great Share, I love the part where You opened up to her, and shared some of your struggles. And then she began to open up as well. And ii all goes back to being relatable, and making people feel a connection with You.

  7. Thank you for this post.

    I do this all the time. Imagining that other people are perfect and I'm not. Especially when they are succeeding or are better at something that I want to be good at.

  8. I'm reading Robert Greene's book "The art of Seduction" so I can become better at discussing myself. I guess it can't hurt.

  9. Beautiful entry :)
    hope we can exchange links ..

    ~ Laine