I recently came across a quote that a friend had on his profile page that went something like, “We come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” Although I agree with this quote, I would like to focus my article on this notion of “perfection.” What is the meaning of perfection? Why are we always running after it? What makes a person/thing perfect, anyway?
Perfection: Does it exist?
As I ponder over these questions, it has come to my realization that perfection is an ideology that people have created in order to distinguish between what they see as flawless and what they see as flawed. Society instils in us certain images, rules, principles, and ideas of what perfection is, or should be. We then get so caught up in the image of wanting and having someone “perfect,” that we end up losing all sense of reality.
We, as logical beings, need to understand that there is no such thing as an absolute perfect person, especially when it comes to relationships. And those of us, who do believe that a perfect person exists or that someone could be absolutely perfect, are delusional. It seems like a lot of people make the mistake of going into a relationship thinking they could change the other person in order to make them “perfect,” only to see it backfire horribly. I won’t deny the fact that everyone has an ideal of what their significant other should be like. There are lots of factors that influence this decision of wanting the ideal “perfect” person. It could be culture, religion, our parents, and in most cases the media. The media often depicts images of what a “perfect” relationship should be like, or what a “perfect” person should look like. And we, sadly, succumb to it, thinking that it applies to real life, thus ruining our actual relationships and our self-esteems. The irony is that we seek perfection, yet are failing to see the negative effects it has on our lives and the people around us. Could it be possible that what we are seeking does not exist, except for what we’ve managed to create in our minds? It’s almost like chasing shadows, you see it but you know you can never catch it, because it does not exist. It only exists because you exist
Humans, by nature, are always consciously and perhaps even subconsciously, on the lookout for their ideal mates. It would be faulty for a single person to say that she/ he are never on the lookout to find her/his soul mate. However, there would be some truth to the saying if a person says that they are still single because they haven’t found their “ideal” yet. So then the question arises, what is it exactly that we are looking for when we say that we want someone who is perfect? I personally believe that perfection=perception. We create our own notion of perfection, based on what we see, feel, and hear around us.
However, my reader needs to understand that this notion of “perfection” varies between different cultures and societies, especially between men and women. In the east, a “perfect” ideal woman would be someone who is modest, conservative, beautiful, innocent, and well domesticated. In the west, on the other hand, a “perfect” woman is independent, well-educated, beautiful, and has a successful career. Perhaps I am being a little biased here, because education is something that we value in the east as well, but I am just saying that if a marriage proposal were to be sent to two women, one was domesticated but not educated, while the other was not domesticated, but well-educated, preference would be given to the domesticated woman, simply because she is considered the “ideal.” Yet, when it comes to the ideal man, I don’t think there are significant differences between eastern and western standards, except perhaps in equality. In the east, the ideal man is the sole breadwinner, educated, handsome (but not necessary), and financially successful. Anything less than that is usually not acceptable. So, here it is pretty clear that the notion of perfection is shaped by a set of standards that each of these different societies have created. And these standards are instilled in us since birth; conditioning us and making us believe that unless and until we follow these standards, we’ll always be considered less than perfect.
In the west, we are conditioned by being exposed to images of “perfect-looking” models and celebrities with big breasts, a tiny waist, and long legs and then are expected to look like that in order to be accepted as “perfect.” If we’re anything less, then we’re considered imperfect and are forced to work on our diets, or worse, get some type of enhancements in order to fit that perfect image. Men are not let off the hook so easy either. The perfect man, in the media, is depicted as tall, dark, and handsome – cliché much? And not only is he “tall, dark, and handsome” but he also has the “perfect” body, complete with pecs and abs. Until and unless all men fit this stereotype, they are not considered perfect either. And then one wonders, is this really how it’s supposed to be? Where does our individuality come in?
Like I said earlier, to me, perfection is perception. Based on our experiences, we can determine for ourselves whether someone is “perfect” or not. I suppose most people define perfection as something that is accepted by the mainstream. Society has created these norms that all of us should abide by, without question, or else we are doomed. What should be a matter of preference and perception is now a matter of dictatorship and conditioning.
Nevertheless, we need to realize that we should be in control of our own feelings and are the only ones who can view an imperfect person as perfect. Perhaps it is that imperfection that makes this person perfect. If this person lacked this imperfection, she or he would not be perfect anymore. Thus, when it comes to the matter of perception, there is no denying that personal biases and selfishness will come into play.
So to answer my initial question on whether perfection exists or not, I’d say that perfection exists, but only in our minds.