I struggled with the word perfect for years and years and years. It felt like this impossible state that I had to somehow already have achieved with a password, able body and infinite bank account I didn’t have.
That is, until one day I was talking to my sister-in-law, who has her Ph.D. in Old English. She explained to me that in the middle ages, the word ‘perfect’ meant whole, or mature. For example, when you finished your seven year apprenticeship and presented your masterpiece before the guild it wasn’t expected to be flawless, but to demonstrate that your understand the whole of your craft and that you had become mature in your capacity and were ready to join the guild. If that was the case, then your masterpiece was perfect.
We’ve come up with a very different meaning for this word over the years, and I don’t know about you, but the flawlessness thing? I just can’t make that work. But mature? Even whole? I might not have arrived yet, but I can see the progress I make year on year as I keep on becoming mature. And that leaves me with a sense of hope and possibility and agency – the ability to think that I can make changes in my life!
So my question to you is this – what would it mean if perfection didn’t mean flawless? And what would this change?
#perfection #perfect #personalcoach #lifecoaching #lifecoach
2 thoughts on ““Perfection””
I really like this perspective on “perfection” and I think I will try to keep it in mind from now on. As women, I believe we are more culturally beholden to strive toward other’s expectations of “perfection,” but it is just such an impossible task. As much as we may be aware of that, we often still try to uphold the perception of perfection. I am so grateful to the shifts in culture over the past few years;; the normalization of and appreciation for all body types. Unfortunately, I am very aware that women’s bodies and perceptions of beauty are faddish. What is beautiful today may change tomorrow. Though the trend towards health and wellness has been going strong since early 2000, I worry for the future. Politics and international relations have been taking an isolationist and conservative tilt. I worry what the impact of close-minded leaders will be.
Your connection between perfection of body and isolation in politics makes me think of a conversation I had last night with someone about the desire for perfection of ideas or values and the way this desire only ever seems to historically lead to splintering in relationships and brittleness of ideas. It is interesting to think of our understanding of perfection – not maturity but complete removal of anything less than flawlessness – as being an underlying cause for the political polarization we’re dealing with right now.
Thank you for making me think!
LikeLiked by 1 person