These simple words are doing cartwheels in my head at the moment.
The gym is empty now, the music is off, the last drop of sweat has bleached the concrete for the day, and here I sit; with nothing but these two words and the low dull humming of the refrigerator dancing in my head.
They’re meant to put people at peace, to tell them not to be so hard on themselves, that it’s absolutely impossible to reach perfection. Yet here I sit, contemplating, trying to figure out why those two words, so simple, so elegant, just don’t quite sit well with me. Then it dawns on me…I don’t believe them! See, I have spent the last decade teaching others how to get healthy, lose weight, gain muscle, and to make sense of this crazy thing we call life.
With each person it’s something different, but at the same time, it’s the same. It’s the same in that almost everyone feels the need to improve something about themselves to gain more self-worth.
Now, I’m all for self-improvement. I believe continual self-improvement and growth are the keys to a fulfilled and happy life. However, it’s the fact that we attach improvements to our self-worth that bothers me. By saying nobody’s perfect, it leaves us always wondering what perfection is and maybe, just maybe, we could be one of those special few that reach it.
This leads us to a vicious cycle of comparing ourselves to others. Measuring yourself against society’s current view of “perfection” and asking “where do I stand?” and “how can I improve my standing?”
This, in turn, leads to unfair and generally harsh self-evaluation (or I should say - devaluation), self-loathing, and utter misery. That is why I have a problem with those two simple words. They’re poison disguised as humility and to rid ourselves of this toxin, we must address it like most problems; attack it at the root, because the honest truth is… We’re all perfect.
In my decade of work, I have been lucky to get to know hundreds of perfect individuals. Some were smart. Some were funny. Others dull and straight laced. I’ve trained the tall, the short, the heavy, the lean, and every size in between (don’t worry I’m not about to go Dr. Seuss on your ass). I’ve known well-grounded people and others always on the edge of a schizophrenic breakdown. All of which were absolutely perfect!
Because perfection lies in the fact that we are all unique individuals painting our own masterpiece. We aren’t meant to be like anyone else but ourselves and that’s the beauty of perfection; and also the liberation. It’s my belief that when we take this outlook on life as opposed to the latter; that we free ourselves from the shackles of suffering. Then the world takes on more vibrancy. As if it were painted in Technicolor. We are no longer improving ourselves in the name of society’s idea of perfection, rather, we are improving due to a passionate longing for joy, happiness, and the pleasure of leaving our unique take on this short time we have on this planet.
Now, for those who already strive for growth from a place of self-love, I commend you; but for those who don’t, whether it be losing weight, getting healthy, or some other cause, do it because you believe it is the best way to impart your unique perfection on the world, not because you feel compelled to reach someone else’s unattainable standard of perfection.
We all have one chance in life to create our own masterpiece, don’t get stuck following a paint-by-numbers because you think it’s wrong to color outside the lines.
Personally, I’ll be the one in the corner. Finger painting. With a smile.
Probably huffing glue.