Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Are you a Perfectionist?

The Goddess of Happiness on Perfection:
Why It's Really Overrated
by Debbie Gisonni for iVillage

When I was a girl, I wanted the perfect nose - one of those small, indistinctive noses that blends into the background of the model's face on a magazine cover. My Italian genetics, however, gave me another type of nose: a little long, a little bumpy, not terribly unpleasant, but definitely ethnic. I've thought about fixing it many times, particularly when I started appearing on TV. (We all know the camera adds five pounds, and noses are no exception.) So far I've resisted the temptation partly because my nose is an integral part of who I am that I don't want to lose, and partly because there's a rebel inside of me who hates to conform to what society says is perfect.

I once read that when Sofia Loren was trying to get into the movies, she was told that everything about her was too big (nose, eyes, lips, body), but she didn't give up. She believed in her unique features, which has made her an undeniable goddess throughout her life. Even today, she continues to exude inner and outer beauty.

Women in particular seem to be conditioned to spend their entire lives chasing someone else's definition of perfection. The perfect face without wrinkles or prominent features, and a body without one dimple of cellulite! Have you ever met anyone like this? The perfect entertaining skills, where you gather the twigs and leaves you'll be gluing together for the table centerpiece prior to preparing a dinner from scratch for 12. Do you even own a glue gun? The perfect man who treats you like a queen, loves your mother and never leaves his dirty socks on the floor. Are you sure he's straight? C'mon, women - what 1950s sitcom are you living in? None of these scenarios resemble real life.

Think of perfection as the carrot on the end of a stick mounted to your head. You keep thinking you can grab it if you run hard enough, and sometimes you can get a little taste of it, but it's never enough. You want the whole thing, and even if you get that, right around the corner is another carrot waiting to be chased. You'll grow old and angry chasing perfection. So why bother? Wouldn't you rather spend time playing with your kids instead of mopping the kitchen floor? Wouldn't you rather look unique instead of like a mannequin? Wouldn't you rather be happy instead of perfect? I know I would, because when you're happy, everything is perfect.
Here, then, are three ways to stop chasing perfection:

  • Redefine reality from what you see in the media to what you see around you in real life.
  • Love your unique traits; they make you interesting to others.
  • Be perfectly happy by enjoying everything you are and everything you have... every day.