Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Are you looking for perfection?
One afternoon, Mulla Nasruddin and his friend were sitting in a cafe, drinking tea and talking about life and love. His friend asked: “How come you never married?”
“Well,” said Nasruddin, “to tell you the truth, I spent my youth looking for the perfect woman. In Cairo I met a beautiful and intelligent woman, but she was unkind. Then in Baghdad, I met a woman who was a wonderful and generous soul, but we had no common interests. One woman after another would seem just right, but there would always be something missing. Then, one day, I met her. Beautiful, intelligent, generous and kind. We had very much in common. In fact, she was perfect!”
“What happened?” asked Nasruddin’s friend, “Why didn’t you marry her?”
Nasruddin sipped his tea reflectively. “Well,” he replied, “it’s really the sad story of my life…. It seemed she was looking for the perfect man…”
Seeking perfection is good when we seek it in us. It makes us to develop ourselves more and more. It motivates us to make more and more improvements. But when we seek it in others it results in perpetual misery. As Mulla Nasruddin found, the other people also could expect the same kind of perfection from us. It paves the ways to endless conflicts.
Some times perfection seems to be a mere idea people form in their mind. So one’s idea of perfection may not be the idea of perfection to other. And rigid perfection-seeking is a great obstacle in finding the small pleasures of daily life.
Alexandra Stoddard offers a more Zen-like approach in her book, The Art of the Possible: The Path from Perfectionism to Balance and Freedom. She suggests looking for "perfect moments" to savor in our day rather than chasing a perfect life. "Those perfect moments lift us up and delight us," she says. "But if the focus is perpetual perfection, there is no peace."
Glatzer, who considers herself a recovering perfectionist, adds, "I had to learn to say 'so what?' sometimes. So what if my hair wasn't perfect? So what if I got somewhere late or had to leave a little early? I had to give myself permission to be imperfect. That freed me up to be more of a real human being."
Remember her wise observation. Sometimes allow yourself and others the freedom to be imperfect in little things of life. Learn to ask “So what?” In this way you can find more peace in life.