My daughter came home from ballet practise the other day in floods of tears. She was disappointed in herself because she felt that she did not dance perfectly that day. She believes that, if she’s not perfect all the time, she will never achieve her dream of one day being a professional dancer.
It reminded me of this quote: “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” Society has conditioned us to chase quick fixes and instant gratification, while downplaying or completely glossing over the hard work, commitment and failure needed to reach those perceived notions of what perfect looks like.
You know what I’m talking about – the beautiful bodies and flawless skin in magazines and YouTube videos. We know these images have been edited and that the models don’t look like that in real life. Yet we still put so much pressure on ourselves to attain that unattainable level of perfectionism. And we don’t want to work for it. We’ve become lazy and we to see immediate results from little effort. We want to look exactly like the athlete who has been running for 10 years, even though we’ve just started our marathon.
But how boring would the world be if we were all perfect? And what does perfect look like anyway? It’s a highly subjective thing. My idea of perfect is probably completely different to yours. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ standard and yet we’re all chasing the level of perfectionism imposed on us by society.
What if we created our own perfect. ‘Create’ being the operative word here. We are all on very different, very personal journeys. My idea of perfect could be to lose 5kg. Your idea of perfect could be to run around a field without passing out from breathlessness halfway. The key is what we do to achieve those goals. And that requires a bit of creativity.
We need to create our own paths to perfection and to celebrate progress along the way. Perfection does not come easily. It’s a slow process and a journey of growth, self-discovery, failure and creativity. Only when we experiment and engage our minds and bodies in unique and different ways will we discover what works for us. Not what works (or so we’re told) for everyone else.
And when you come across an obstacle in your journey to perfection, don’t let it discourage you. Rather, embrace it for what it is: an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to try something new. To challenge yourself and to redefine your own ideas of what perfect looks like. Don’t be surprised if it’s not the same as the magazines and music videos. That’s not your journey. That’s someone else’s.
Let’s stop being so hard on ourselves and stop beating ourselves up because we’re not “perfect”. We’re all different and perfect in our own ways and that’s what makes life interesting and exciting.
Join me in my studio, where perfection means growing at your own pace, surrounded by supportive people in a family environment. Perfect is the holes in your gym clothes or the baby spit-up on your shoulder. Perfect is the fact that you can do 50 more squats today than you could last week. Perfect is you. And me. And us. We’re in this together but we’re all on very different journeys. Let’s support each other rather than holding each other up to impossible standards.
I believe in you. And I have your back. Let’s do this.