Perfect Nonsense

Recipe for Mind

© Heide Benser/Corbis

If you operate on the premise that “if you’d only try harder, you can achieve perfection,” you are could be seriously exhausting yourself in a hopeless exercise.  The State of Perfection is situated somewhere between Shangri-La and La-La Land; a place where absolutes of any kind belong, since they certainly don’t exist in real life.

There is no such thing as a perfect body, a perfect relationship, or the perfect job.  Bodies can’t be perfect – they age and respond to environmental conditions.  Relationships can’t be perfect – they evolve and go through rough patches   Even the best careers have up and down cycles.   I think that about the only thing that can be described as “perfect” is a moment – something lovely and ephemeral, existing for a brief interval and then becomes a memory.

An immutable law of the mind states, “the more you try to do something, the less you are able to do it.”   Have you ever tried desperately to fall asleep at night, and couldn’t until you finally gave up?  The act of “trying” to be perfect is a futile one, and destined to fail.

An inalterable law of suggestion is “Avoid Perfectionism.”  There are certain words in every language that carry a strong emotional charge –  such as “perfect” and “try.”  Hearing or thinking these words starts a feedback loop in our heads, reminding us how we can never be quite good enough.  Whenever you “hear” the voice in your own head urging you to work on being perfect, know that you are getting misinformation.    Thinking in terms of achieving your “personal best” or “improving yourself day-by-day,” doesn’t trigger the same negative reactions.

I remember back with the TV show Desperate Housewives first aired, I liked the way it portrayed some very valuable lessons on the downfalls of putting on “perfect” appearances.  The housewives of Wisteria Lane may all have nice homes, attractive faces, and well-sculpted bodies – yet their lives are anything but perfect. The more desperately these housewives try to keep up the appearances of being perfect, they more they get mired in a vicious cycle of intrigue.

Wanting to conform to societal expectations is not always a bad thing.  We are social beings, after all.  The role we play within our community, requires us to take on a “persona” – a term coined by Carl Gustav Jung, the brilliant pioneer of depth psychology to signify the  universal symbol of conformity.  As we hone our outer, social image we are rewarded with certain monetary advantages that allow us more freedoms for satisfying the inner psychological and spiritual aspects of self.  The idea is to find a balance between all of our parts, but often the pressures of society to conform cause us to become excessively identified with the persona, like “Bree” – one of my favorite of the housewives  Bree does everything she can to put on the appearance to her neighbors that her family is ideal.  Her obsessive-compulsive behavior keeps her rooted in the illusion of a perfect life, and keeps her from delving into what really makes her unhappy and what could be messing up her “perfect” life.

Fact is:  when you mix together these two volatile mental substances of TRY + PERFECT  you get some of the most potent WMD’s the world has ever known:


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