My Imperfect Fight For ‘Perfection’!


It was another dinner at my husband’s friend’s house. We were meeting this friend of his after a long time or first time after he got married. His wife was beautiful and so was the dinner, cooked to perfection with great hosting skills, not to miss the sparkling house ( I remembered our days as newly weds). We had a great time but as soon as I reached my not so perfectly cleaned house, I started sulking. Not in a mood to talk, I started collecting the things that children had thrown across the floor. Their bags, shoes, and books nothing was at its place. I felt exhausted and breathless.

I am a control freak and I like to have a clean house but when you have an almost teenager and another 7 year old who loves to make a mess, sometimes things go beyond your control and as it happened in my case, it can get you into a sulk.

And because this wasn’t happening for the first time, I left everything mid way and sat down to write, feeling bad about this crazy habit of mine which always makes me miserable. I am quite harsh on myself and like to put myself against people who are not really my competitors. So I would be feeling bad for a cleaner house of somebody who doesn’t have children, I might also feel bad about my muffin top after seeing some great abs of a girl who is yet to become a mother and I can definitely feel worse about somebody who can cook four dishes and manage their house impeccably even if they are house wives. I could see a pattern there. It is not anybody’s fault, it’s my imperfect fight for perfection which makes me feel bad and the way I go about it, it’s never going to get me anywhere.

I started to think about perfection and why does it matter to me so much. Should I just believe Salvador Dali’s words where he says ‘Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it’ and stop running after being perfect. Is it just me or other women too who let this unjust worry creep in. And do we do this on purpose, deriving sadistic pleasure out of the whole exercise. I began to think of the ‘whys’ and the ‘hows’.

Why don’t we feel good about being average? Why do we always expect our kids or ourselves to be perfect? Why does imperfection scare us so much? And if I feel so bad about certain things then am I not transferring this fear of imperfection in my children? Why being ‘the average’ or the ordinary brings such a feeling of abhorrence? Why can’t I or people like me accept that it is humanly impossible to be good in everything and yet manage perfection. The best models with great figures might not be great conversationalist; the perfect looking gentleman might not be perfect with his manners. There can be hundred example of how ‘perfection’ is a mirage but does that stop us from trying to be the best.


The truth is that as long as the ‘perfection’ is progress, we are good but as soon as it takes on a life of its own, then we lose control. In order to become perfect we confirm ourselves to standards cast in stone allowing no room for natural flaws.

But what do we do with this world, where being called average, is an insult. ‘Ordinary’ is often synonymous with failure. We all want our children and ourselves to be unique, extra ordinary but the truth is that the vast majority of us are not. My dad’s favourite quote is ‘contentment brings peace’ and the real contentment starts from accepting who you are. I remember arguing with him about this philosophy of his all the time. He used to tell me that you can never run enough, earn enough and be perfect enough, and I used to cringe at his ‘non ambitious’ outlook. I used to tell him about all the great people and achievers who were perfect, and he would tell me that these guys may be good at one thing but not at everything and that perfection is meant for Gods and isn’t for humans. I used to hate his observation and his lectures where he used to say that it is good to chase your dreams but you must also stop and realise where you are heading in your pursuit of perfection. I could never make sense of what he meant then. Just like any typical teenager, I never paid any heed to his words and wanted to be all that I wasn’t. but years of running after the shadow of perfection I have realised that we can progress but being perfect would always mean to be on the run, not that there is a harm in doing that but one must know the stakes. Today I realise he was right and I can see where his happiness comes from, from the progression, realisation and not perfection!


Those who have seen ‘Desperate Housewives’ would agree how ‘Bree’ who was the perfect mother and the perfect wife, used to be detested by his family, she was perfect with her manners, cooking, taking care of the house and impeccable social skills but in this race of achieving all that, she was not ready to accept the normal flaws of her kids and husband and this ‘perfect life’ drove them in separate directions. I know, this is just a fictional character but if we look carefully we’ll see such women around us who are always running to be perfect. I might not be one of the front runners here but I am definitely one of them. By writing this article, I wanted to not only reach out to other women who feel that way but also reach out to my inner self and realise that the imperfection makes us more humane where we can accept ourselves for who we are and stop chasing our perfect self.

 The solution is to let go, let go of the obsession with perfection and accept the flaws because they can be beautiful, fluid, unpredictable and imperfectly perfect. ‘Being ordinary’ might not be the ultimate dream of many but it is definitely more close to ‘Being Human’.

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