PERFECTION asks: I kinda have a crush on my friend. She’s actually the kind of girl that’s very responsible, intelligent, good, and I could even say she’s PERFECT and I was thinking, If I’m going to pursue her, shouldn’t I be just like her?
Hi PERFECTION –
You know, PERFECTION, perfection is an interesting thing. There is such a thing as perfection in mathematics, in physics, even in chemistry. But I think it ends there.
After that, what we call “perfection” is actually subjective. Some people say they hear perfection in the cleanliness of a Mozart sonata; others might hear it in the messiness of a jazz improve or a hard rock jam. Some see perfection in a simple elegant church tower, others in that wild Frank Gehry museum in Bilbao.
And when it comes to other living beings, it’s completely subjective. The woman you call perfect will be, to another person’s eyes, uptight and boring. And the person they call perfect might be, to your eyes, troublesome and irritating. People often say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well I promise you, perfection is too.
And in the easiest example I can give, my human Handsome is very open about it: he thinks little children are perfect, he thinks animals are perfect, but he thinks the greatest example he’s ever seen of what he calls “Superhuman Perfection” is… me.
Now no one knows my flaws better than he does. He cleans up my shedding hairs, he has scars from my biting him and tripping him as a puppy, he has weakened hearing from my barking in his ears, and he’s the one who cleans my poop up in the yard.
And yet, still, he says I’m perfect.
Meanwhile, I know his flaws. I’ve seen him make horrible mistakes in his life, I’ve been in the car when he lost control and crashed it, and I can’t tell you how many times he’s accidentally stepped on my tail. But still, I see him as perfect too.
You see, when we really love something or someone, it’s perfect. Because you’re seeing past any imperfections and appreciating what is. Do you know what “continuity errors” are in movies? Where there’s a mistake that means one shot doesn’t fit with another? (Like let’s say someone’s in the same scene but wearing a different shirt in different shots – though it’s usually a lot subtler than that). Handsome will gladly point out those errors in his favorite movies. But then he’ll tell you he wouldn’t change a thing – they’re just part of the perfection.
What’s imperfect about a flower? A mouse? A cloud? It can’t be imperfect, it just is itself.
So this girl – you say she’s intelligent, responsible, and good. And you’re thinking you want to be just like her? Well, I’d say that what you really are experiencing is seeing those qualities in a beautiful package, and thinking “Hey I’d like to have those qualities myself, so I could have as high an opinion of myself as I do of her.”
That’s a GREAT idea! That’s pretty much the way Handsome and I look at each other, and he at least has made some terrific changes in his life by trying to be more like me.
So I’m guessing you’re pretty intelligent already, but maybe there are things you’d like to learn more about, so you could feel more intelligent. Read up on what World War II was all about, or how a light bulb works, or how to make a pizza (I have a particular respect for that last bit of knowledge).
And responsible? Can you be more responsible than you have been? Terrific! You already know where to work on it, so just do it.
And good? Well, deep in your heart, you have a sense of what goodness is. Maybe you already are a pretty good person, but you could put more effort into it – go out of your way to help someone who needs help, to work for a cause you believe in, to adopt a dog (I like that last one especially too).
Now if you strengthen all these qualities in yourself, will you see yourself as perfect, the way you see her? Not a chance. You’ll still have that crush, and you’ll still see yourself as flawed.
But you will like yourself better, and feel better about the person you’ve become.
And maybe that will help you carry yourself with the confidence and joy that will win her heart!
But in the end, you’ll just have to trust me on this. You’re already perfect. So’s she. And so’s the bit of dirt under your fingernail. Everything is perfect, because it just is.
And you know what’s especially perfect? The joy of a crush. So enjoy it. And here’s hoping it leads to some clumsy messy imperfect conversations, kisses, and who knows what else!
All my imperfect best!