Do You Strive For Perfection?

Chasing perfection?

Do you strive to be perfect? A flawless skin, a curvy model-like body, a project that could win you accolades, a loving and understanding spouse, a perfect home with smiling children. Do you think it is possible? If you do, you are following a mirage, as nothing is perfect in this world.

Why perfection? Who creates this myth? How do we start believing in perfection? Probably people around us impel us, expectations of our parents and challenges of our peer group sow the seeds of this illusionary idea of chasing perfection. We want to excel, accomplish all our aspirations and self-belief propels us towards putting in our best efforts and time.

You may reach the zenith but life is much more than just being successful, as no success is eternal and no life is perfect. Relationships go awry, marriages hit unknown boulders, unforeseen circumstances throw you overboard, and stress tells upon your health.

That perfect score of your child might be hiding a deep grudge against you for pushing him into academics. That zero size model might be starving herself into depression. That perfect moment of love loses its significance with time. That nagging habit could be alienating your spouse.

The wizard of perfection rests on ski slopes, smiling at us only till the snow melts.

I too, was fascinated by the perfect home settings shown in movies, magazines and advertisements and even tried hard to keep my home in perfect shape, yelling at my children to keep their toys and books where they belong. Any book left here and there carelessly was confiscated, and returned with the promise that they would be more careful in future…till they flew away to accomplish their own dreams and nobody spread things around!

My endeavors of creating a perfectly organized home robbed me of many moments of joy with my children. I am more tolerant with my grandchildren, never coaxing them to pick up the things they love to scatter around their house. Sometimes they clean up but most of the time they just walk off to their next activity and that is perfectly okay with me, now.

Do not seek perfection, as:

  • It encourages unrealistic demands
  • It fosters frustration
  • It creates stress and unnecessary arguments
  • It wastes energy
  • It derails dreams

Please don’t confuse perfection with excellence. You may try to excel, which leads us to better avenues and inventions. It also fills our heart with contentment but putting in your best efforts should be in coherence with self-love and personality building. When we try to accomplish something at the cost of relationships and health, when we ignore the core values of life in our pursuit of excellence, it could eventually prove detrimental for us. “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection,” said George Orwell.

Haven’t you heard that legend about Draupadi, (of The Mahabharata fame) who wanted a perfect husband and asked Lord Shiva to bless her with one? She was told that all the five qualities she wished for in her husband couldn’t be found in a single man. Her wish was granted but she was destined to marry five brothers.

Quest for perfection culminates at weird destinations! What do you think?

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Balroop Singh.

40 thoughts on “Do You Strive For Perfection?

  1. Wonderful post Balroop ( or should I say perfect:)). I couldn’t agree more about what you say.
    Your wonderful picture of the shifting sky, each moment a wonder. How could only one be perfect.
    If we were perfect we wouldn’t be here and learn from the school of life. I count myself lucky to be
    one of the pupils.
    Like you I tried to be everything, at work, at home but stress suddenly broke me and I came somewhat to
    my senses.
    Don’t you now find the learning and changes fun. To let life just happen. o.k , some organisation is
    needed. 🙂


    1. I am glad you noticed the symbolism of the picture I used…you definitely have a poet’s soul Miriam! Change is as constant as the shifting moments that the sky reflects everyday, especially when the sun rises and sets…but most people have no time to look at it, what to talk of understanding the depth of the message it conveys! Perfection is just a word, created by zealous individuals to infuse the spirit of competition, to do better than you could have done, to never rest till you meet your doom!
      Thank you for sharing your perspective, much appreciated. Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. Having spent a long time with perfectionists I feel the atmosphere around is a bit tensed because their expectations are often not met and they feel stressed. We humans are not perfect. Even perfectionist have their own flaws like others. Sometimes, perfectionists are seen as unreasonably demanding persons. It is important to acknowledge that we all have our own strengths and weaknesses; if someone cannot meet our standards it doesn’t make them inferior. They have their own strengths.
    I have often found that “no so perfect” individuals are a lot more tolerant and therefore tend to bond better in their relationships. It is a personal observation and some people may disagree.
    It is nice that you have differentiated between perfection and excellence. I’m glad you talked about this topic; not many do.

    1. I like your observation arv – ‘perfectionists have their own flaws’! Well said! That defines the term so well! When somebody sets a standard, he has an unattainable goal in his mind and knows it can’t be reached. However, if somebody reaches it, as human beings have proved how much talent and capacity they possess, it is not possible that he would stay at that zenith, as the graph can never keep rising. it has to fall one day.
      I agree with you that “not so perfect” persons are better human beings, they know what is life and how to take pleasure in the moments. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, much appreciated.

      1. well, that’s how almighty has planned things out. I’m happy you chose to write about something that no one talks about. 🙂

      2. Most difficult and controversial topics are brushed aside with a cynical comment…human nature is such or some people choose to stay out for their own reasons. I am often down to such topics! Thank you arv, your point is always thought-provoking.

  3. Perfection I strived for it at some stage. I think I wanted people to be happy with me, I wanted to be loved. And then everything I once known fell into pieces.
    I don’t believe in perfection anymore – it’d be boring and as you said Balroop it’s something that doesn’t exist anyway. So why keep chasing an illusion?
    Yes it’s not always that easy. But worth trying and let go!
    Thanks Balroop. Have a lovely day

    1. The ‘perfection’ you are talking about is trying to please people, to win love and recognition…many youngsters try to do that, probably due to their nature or outside pressures. Slowly they realise that the opinion of people doesn’t matter and nobody can ever please everybody. They tend to lose their own identity in the race and yes, it becomes boring. The sooner we understand people, the better it is. Those who pressurise could be selfish!
      Thank you Marie, you have evolved so much! Stay blessed.

  4. None of us are free of flaws and striving for that only results in comparison which in the end brings unhappiness. I like that you distinguished between excellence and perfection, Balroop. Often, people don’t make the distinction. It’s sad that our society puts such a strong emphasis on being perfect, isn’t it?

    1. It is not just the society, it is the environment at home, the expectations of parents, the culture that we come from…all combine around a growing child to make what he becomes rather than focus on what he wants. Perfection haunts them in various forms till they grow out of it.

    1. Well said Lisa! We realise this fact only after we have experienced all the pressures and shoves. A teenager doesn’t know that as his peer group doesn’t appreciate “being yourself” and self-expectations keep inspiring him. 🙂

  5. The crux of the matter, as rightly pointed out here, is that perfection is often mistakenly co-related with excellence. While excellence is an attainable goal, perfection by its very definition has no real existence. If it did, the result would have been a surfeit of monotony offered by a uniform spread of perfection all around. It takes chaos and disorder to foster creativity and drive the urge to excel. Hence the more of ugliness and lack of order, the more the impetus towards goodness and excellence. Not perfection, which may only have a heavenly existence, as Browning puts it, “What was good shall be good, with, for evil, so much good more;
    On the earth the broken arcs; in the heaven, a perfect round”.

    1. Excellence may be attainable but for a short while, as nobody can excel each time…there can only be one masterpiece even though each stroke of an artist aims at that.
      Thank you for adding so much depth to this topic with your insights Raj, I agree with you that perfection has no real existence and may be ‘heavenly,’ which is imaginary! That Browning quote illustrates it so well! Thanks for sharing and visiting…what an honor!

  6. “Please don’t confuse perfection with excellence.” What great advice, Balroop. Your story of Draupadi reminded me of the story of a man who waited half his life for the perfect woman. When he finally found her, he proposed marriage instantly. And she turned him down because she was waiting for the perfect man. 🙂

    1. Ha ha! That story of a man looking for a perfect woman is a “perfect” example! Thank you Diana, you showed the other side of the coin…only if people realise!

  7. I think dear Balroop many of us strive to keep our home in order.. And as a once busy working Mum of two, did my own fair share of wanting it kept tidy.. lol
    I have come along way since those early days, and now all is perfect in my world.. lol dust at all.. 🙂 And the reflection in the mirror while to many it may not seem perfect.. It is the best side of me.. 🙂

    Great to read and loved your story of Draupadi 🙂
    Much love and Stay Blessed my friend ❤

    1. The bug of perfection attacks when we are young and step on the learning curve. Slowly it recedes and if it doesn’t, it dies a natural death 😊 Thanks dear Sue. 🤗♥️

  8. I gave up on perfection long ago. I at first tried to make a ‘perfect’ house–as you said and found the cost was too high. To this day, I believe that.

  9. This post is so much me Balroop….I always used to strive for perfection in all that I did, often being very critical about myself. But over the years l have realized that what is perfect to someone may not be so for another. Also my daughter has taught me to look for beauty in imperfection too. So like you I have also learned to be more accepting now 🙂

    1. Experiences of life give profound lessons but tell those a teenager or an ambitious youngster, he/she would scoff at them! Such is life Radhika. Thank you for popping in to share your thoughts.

  10. I don’t believe in “perfection,” but I do believe in finding perfection in every imperfect person, animal, tree and plant, bird and creature, and in the sky above. That is exactly what your haiku says to me also. But yes, when I was younger I strived for “perfection,” but realized that it would only lead to sadness and despair. Strive instead for joy and forgiveness. ❤

    1. What a lovely thought! Thank you for this wonderful interpretation of the haiku I had shared and yes! There are those moments of perfect beauty that Mother Nature offers. I appreciate your eye Pam. 🤗

  11. Another reflective write-up, Balroop. So true that perfection is an illusion and you illustrate very well with your examples. When we achieve something, there will always be another milestone ahead or something else to reach for. Sometimes, we won’t be able to achieve something because of circumstance. Does that make us imperfect? Personally I think we all have our own strengths and quirks. Self-love is always easier said than done…we have to be humble and realise there are things we can and can’t do in the process of accepting ourselves.

    1. I agree with you Mabel, circumstances do clip our wings and we know why we couldn’t reach our destination but that shouldn’t hinder our progress. New opportunities keep cropping up everyday to test our mettle.
      Thank you for standing by to share your thoughts, I always look forward to them.

  12. Balroop, the title of your photo, with the question mark at the end, sums up this mirage exactly … ‘chasing perfection?’ The concept lives in our heads, we see it around us, read about it in books and whilst striving to achieve the impossible only hurt ourselves and others along the way. Your words capture the nuances of this ideal, how it is not excellence and I smiled at your personal anecdotes. When my son was young I strove to be the perfect mother, causing not only tension within myself but also at home. Quickly my own mother brought me to my senses and a happy slightly chaotic life started! For weeks our floor would be an obstacle cause of wooden train tracks, books and Lego piled in corners…but with the ease came lots of fun and laughter! Your final paragraph had me smiling as I read about the Draupadi! She got her perfect husband/s! 😀 A lesson for us all! Hugs xx

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