Struggling with perfection is difficult. Bombarded with images of the ideal, you feel inadequate when you don’t measure up. Read to discover how to look beyond imperfections.
The media make perfection tempting, so it’s easy to strive for it. You could hire an airbrush artist to follow you around, or you could take Gerard Way’s advice and look beyond imperfections.
Since everyone loves quotes (and I’m curating hundreds of them for my Inspiring Happiness Quotes page), here are a few quotes and lyrics from My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way.
Look Beyond Imperfections
Happiness shouldn’t depend on anything external. If you think you’ll be happy only when you get something, become something, go somewhere or meet someone, you’ll be disappointed. You may experience some pleasure when you receive, become, go, or fulfill what you think you need. That’s pleasure, not happiness.
“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.”
– Gerard Way
“Pleasure fades. It waxes and wanes. Pleasure is phases of the moon. Happiness is the moon. Pleasure drifts in and out like the tide. Happiness is the ocean.”
– Shayne Seymour
Don’t Wait for Perfection
If someone wants to get in shape because they think they’ll love themselves more when they get in shape, it won’t work.
People who are in shape don’t love themselves because they’re in shape. They’re in shape because they love themselves.
Some don’t love themselves yet, and they’re still trying to achieve some threshold of fitness or nutrition.
Most fit people are in shape because they love themselves.
When someone offers them junk food, they love themselves too much to consume the junk. They don’t skip workouts because they love themselves too much to skip a workout.
They’re fit because they love themselves.
They’re healthy because they love themselves.
Fitness doesn’t cause love. Love causes fitness.
Yearning for perfection instead of embracing and loving yourself state only holds you back. That resistance, that wanting something else or something more, prevents joy. Worse, it also disintegrates contentment and thus prevents happiness.
Looking beyond imperfections–even embracing them–loving yourself before you get, go or meet, won’t bring pleasure. It also doesn’t prevent pleasure. What it does is help you become content, and contentment can bring you happiness.
You can still work to improve yourself.
“Find joy in the work, in doing the right thing. Don’t save happiness for the result.”
– Shayne Seymour
3 Problems with Pursuing Perfection
Alliteration isn’t one of them! Check out those three Ps.
Pursuing perfection erodes your self-esteem, causes you to procrastinate, and drags your happiness down into the gutter like a creepy clown offering red balloons.
Nobody floats down there, Georgie!
Pursuing Perfection Ruins Self-esteem
I’m sure their hearts are in the right place, but all those magazine, television, and Instagram models showing you how perfect they are–and how perfect you could be too…
…you buy their product.
It chips away at your self-esteem, though, seeing how you compare to them. The girl in the photo and the girl in the mirror look different, and different isn’t good according to the people trying to get you to buy their products.
Different is Beautiful
You’ve heard all the hype about diversity, right? That’s because diversity is beautiful.
The media and the marketers want you to dislike yourself. They want to convince you that you’ll love yourself more (or at all) when you look like the models in the pictures, what they call perfection.
What you see in those images isn’t perfection, though. It’s not even real. It’s fake. The model isn’t perfect. The lighting and the touchups are good enough to make that one particular image look perfect.
“Gravity don’t mean too much to me.
I’m who I’ve got to be.
These pigs are after me,
– Gerard Way, from Gravity
Yes, they’re after you. Don’t let their fake, airbrushed pictures keep you from happiness.
Pursuing Perfection Breeds Procrastination
Waiting for perfection is procrastination. You don’t want to publish that article until it’s better, so you never finish and never move on to the next one.
You never play that new song for your friends because it’s not perfect yet. I remember when my mom was ill and needed to hire a housekeeper. Before she hired a housekeeper, though, she wanted to make sure the house was clean.
The worst is when you don’t start better self-care because perfection keeps you from loving yourself yet.
Too self-helpie? It’s not, and I’ll tell you why in a few more paragraphs.
— IndependentlyHappy (@indyhayhay) July 4, 2019
Pursuing Perfection Prevents Happiness
It’s a vicious circle.
Because you’re not as perfect as they are, you don’t love yourself enough yet start what you want to start. Since you never start, you never acquire whatever you think you need to love yourself more.
Procrastinating doing what you want procrastinates happiness.
You’re better than perfect, so love yourself enough to start because you love yourself.
How to Embrace Imperfection
Don’t Listen to Plato
Plato proposed the Theory of the Forms. He proposed that ultimate forms of reality existed to represent ideal concepts. Liberty has its perfect Form. Happiness has a perfect Form. Puppies have an ideal Form. Everything in existence has a perfect, ideal Form that everything strives to become.
Maybe the forms existed, but on a different plane or realm. Maybe Thor could find them with his new hammer. The forms did not really exist. They were just ideals. Plato’s Forms were something to move toward in theory, but not a barrier to actual existence.
Forms’ perfection didn’t mean less perfect realities were less beautiful or worthy of appreciation and love. Those perfect Platonic Forms are abstracts, concepts, or ideas. Just like perfection, they’re not real.
Forms were just a way to help philosophers have something to complain about.
We are real, which makes us better than the Forms.
We are real, which means we’re more beautiful than the Forms.
Your imperfections make you better than perfect.
“Your imperfections make you better than perfect.”
– Shayne Seymour
Love Yourself First
So love yourself first.
You have to love yourself first. If you don’t think you can love yourself, do you want to love yourself? If you love yourself enough to want to love yourself more, then you love yourself!
Did I just confuse yourself?
Don’t get spun up in the vicious circle. If you want to be healthier, love yourself enough not to put junk food in your body. Don’t wait to love yourself when you’re healthier. Love yourself enough now not to eat junk food in the first place.
Love yourself enough now to take breaks, get up and walk around instead of sitting and working all day.
if the music drowns you out
and raise your voice
every single time they try and shut your mouth.”
– Gerard Way, from Sing
Look beyond imperfections. Embrace the imperfections.
In what ways do you struggle with perfection?
How do you embrace imperfections?
- A Virtuous Circle is what you get when a good habit starts to really pay off when the habit starts to feed and encourage itself. This is how to start and prosper from virtuous circles.
- Check to the massive and growing list of happiness quotes!
- It’s easy to confuse happiness with pleasure and wreck your happiness by pursuing pleasure. You end up constantly chasing and never finding. A key to happiness is to stop trying to be happy.