Cliche. But true.
A lot of people spend their time trying to reach perfection in various pursuits. Some spend their lives trying to perfect their golf game. Others will use their time trying to learn another language. Still more might spend their days amassing vast amounts of wealth. All of it in the pursuit of, if not perfection, trying to hit some mark they believe is perfect.
I know a few writers or would-be writers that keep telling me they won’t release their book until it’s perfect.
Just like with the other characters and the things they’re trying to achieve, the writers’ books will never be perfect. I know mine weren’t when I released them and even the new ones I launch aren’t perfect. They have flaws. They always will.
In this life, it can be easy to beat ourselves up for not being perfect.
We are taught to believe that a certain look is beautiful, that we must have certain things to be happy, and that if we do or don’t do a particular set of things in a particular way we are bad people.
Because of this cultural onslaught, we are made to feel guilty when we don’t achieve a certain level of whatever it is we’re expected.
Very often, we punish ourselves with guilt, shame, or blame. Sometimes we might come up with excuses for our shortcomings and put the onus on someone else, which never really helps in the long term.
No matter who you are or where you are in life, it’s not important that you be perfect. You’ll never be.
Every single one of us has something we’ve done wrong or at least not done entirely right. Some may call it sin. Others might say it’s just shortcomings.
We all have sins or shortcomings.
I know I do.
It’s important to understand that no matter what we do, we cannot let guilt over those sins take over our hearts and minds. That isn’t to say we should just ignore those shortcomings. To do so would be to give in to our animal instincts and then we would be no better than the beasts.
Rather, it is our pursuit of perfection that matters.
Though we will never achieve it, not in this life anyway, it is our constant struggle to do better, to be better, to strive for perfection that keeps us moving forward. It makes us human. It stays the moral compass of the world, without which we would descend into chaos.
Perhaps you have a deep, dark secret you keep from everyone, a sin that no one else knows about. It’s okay. Keep working at it. Keep struggling with it.
One thing you can’t do is judge yourself.
The great teachers of the ancient world, my favorites being Jesus from the Bible and the Buddha, both talked about letting go of judgement, both for others and for yourself. If we beat ourselves up over our shortcomings we will not be able to achieve a higher level of existence in this world. And we will never be happy.
We’ll mope around all the time, carrying that awful feeling in our guts about whatever our imperfection is.
Instead of judging yourself, keep pushing forward. You cannot change the past or the things that happened there but you can make the next decision. You can choose differently in your next moment.
You can pursue perfection.
If you don’t get there, that’s okay. Go easy on yourself.
The pursuit is what makes us who we are.