Perfection is described by one source as thus:

per·fec·tion — pərˈfekSH(ə)n/ — noun

  • The condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
  • A person or thing perceived as the embodiment of perfection.
  • The action or process of improving something until it is faultless or as faultless as possible.

If it’s perfection you seek, consider this: There is no freedom in perfection. To the contrary, it can be a prison we build for ourselves, morosely standing behind the bars and blaming the world for our unfulfilled existence.

This is the trouble with living from the outside in. We pay more attention to what television and magazine ads are telling us to wear and drink and drive than we do to our own internal knowledge of who we are. It’s as if we believe that the new skirt, the expensive bottle of wine or the fancy car will provide us with the perfect life, thus creating and maintaining happiness.

And ladies, if you are striving to be the perfect wife, mom, board member, business owner, or corporate ladder climber, I can promise you the best you will get out of that endless quest for perfection is exhaustion, overwhelming stress and a sprinkling of anger.

So how do you avoid this prison posing as perfection? I say, determine your values. What’s most important in your life? If you say you place top value on family, then why are you doing 60-hour workweeks? Why are you spending most of your weekends with your head buried in a computer and then showing up 20 minutes late to your child’s rehearsal? When you’re rarely home to share a family meal then something is wrong. Terribly wrong.

I was recently reading an article that was written by Debora Spar for the now defunct More Magazine. Spar is the president of Barnard College, which is an all-women’s school in New York City. She wrote:

“No man, no woman, no human is perfect, or even close. Yet women today expect — deep inside our collective hearts and souls — that we will be the ones to pull off these simultaneous miracles while keeping everyone happy and beautiful and all the plates spinning at once. And we need to stop. Because, if the goal of life is perfection, then by definition, we are all destined to fail. That cannot — must not — be the plot.”

We have a choice here, folks. We can continue to choose “perfection” or we can choose what is important to us, what we value, what we would be willing to die for. And we need to let these things be the guidepost in order to create the life we really want to live. An authentic life.

I invite you to watch the Ted Talk below, which is titled, “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brene Brown. She will tell you why it’s so important to have the courage to be imperfect.

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About The Author: Annie M. Fonte is the founder and CEO of Meet Me At The Barn — a self-mastery and personal development program designed to help people of purpose achieve their highest level of living. With an MBA from Harvard University, Annie has founded numerous successful ventures in health care, sports medicine, continuing education and hard goods. At Meet Me At The Barn, Annie and her team produce live and online courses that guide clients toward living an authentic life and that help people discover and pursue their true self and passions.