If you had a genie in a bottle with just three wishes, what would you do with it? Most of us would first wish for money, and why? So you can buy a better car, bigger house, the most trendy brand name clothes or shoes. While you are acquiring all these things perhaps you will finally treat yourself to that teeth whitening you always wanted, Botox, or cool sculpting, then drop several hundred dollars at the salon for a new hair style, and you’re sure to document this journey on your Instagram feed or Facebook. If money is no object, suddenly perfection or the perception of it seems to be in your reach. As a society it has become the norm to strive for perfection, in our looks, our professional lives, and material possessions. The problem is we are fighting a losing battle, and a battle that breeds unhealthy behavior and an unhealthy perception of ourselves and the world.
It is not without reason we are this way, this mentality starts at a young age. Over the generations our influences have changed, and with the don of the digital era kids are inundated with snapchat, Instagram, Facebook to name a few, before they are old enough to understand it. All well equipped with endless filter options that make you look flawless, with a thinner face, fuller lips, etc. The “selfie” has become an art form. We look at ourselves through the filters on our forward facing camera, happy with the image that is portrayed to our followers, our fulfillment coming from the number of likes and comments. Put down the phone and look in the mirror with dissatisfaction because what you see is not what was just posted to your social media feed. And so starts the hunt to find that quick beauty fix that will get you closer to that look, the look of perfection as if it exists. Your hunt is never far, scrolling through your IG and FB feeds, all the ads telling you to buy this and try that are at your fingertips, with the promise to be thinner, have flawless skin, perfect abs in 6 weeks, the list goes on.
It doesn’t stop at looks. To reach perfection you must be the complete package, and so there is the chase to the top of the corporate ladder, or the best if your field, even the stay at home mom or dad is competing to be the best at it. Spending endless hours working to be that top performer so you get a better position or higher status, make more money or get that big bonus pay out. This too starts young; kids are constantly questioned by adults and teachers with the age old question “What do you want to be when you grow up”. The question in itself is not a bad one, it is when we as adults try to steer them in one direction or another, we knowingly or unknowingly set expectations on what we want them to become, and already there is pressure to become something significant. Putting ideas in their heads that they need to become something important and make good money. Instead of letting their minds run wild with imagination, free to be whatever they want when the time comes without concern of money, status, or following family tradition.
The chase to perfection is a tiresome journey, where there is no true or long lasting satisfaction, because it will always be out of reach. Even if you come close, many of us still find ourselves dissatisfied, with a mind that is so full of your wants and don’t haves that the joy of what is around you is lost.
We all get caught up in becoming something, wanting more than what we have, wanting perfection. I too am guilty of this. But, if you can change your mindset to a state of being, rather than a state of becoming, then your actions will be for your delight and enjoyment and not in an effort to become something, someone, or achieve a goal. In that there is fulfillment. Perfection is a human condition that goes back far beyond the don of the social media age; it has touched all generations in some way. This is something I work on daily, some days I fail, others I succeed, and over time the need for perfection and outward approval will dissipate.