We are living in an age where people expect everyone to be perfect, all the time, and this New Age idealism has me troubled. “Like it or not, all humans are imperfect. Perfection is an ideal that cannot be reached.” (Lazarsfeld, 1991).
From the time we are born we live and learn and (hopefully) grow, but sometimes we make mistakes. We fall down. We pick ourselves back up by our proverbial bootstraps. We continuously fail or succeed. No one is infallible. No one is exempt from imperfection. No one is, nor will ever be, perfect.
But, we are mandating each other to be more and more perfect, to match our own ideals, everyday. We have a “holier than though” mentality. We want people to fit into the mold we’ve created and shaped for them, and when someone doesn’t fit perfectly, we are disappointed. We rationalize that they’ve failed us. Perhaps we are giving up too easily, or too early, on each other? And, if that is the case, human beings with value and worth are being discarded like nothing more than the day’s trash.
“Perfection is subjective because its definition depends upon one’s social, moral, cultural, personal standards, and world-view. Thus, any claim upon perfection can and will always remain a relative perfection.”
-Acceptance of Imperfection
Erin Martz, MA, CRC
University of Arkansas
In this age of loving and hating Kevin Hart, and Ellen DeGeneres, and Biden or Trump, perhaps it’s a good time to reflect on our intense need to require anyone, ever, to be perfect all the time. That’s not to say there are no inexcusable offenses. Just be clear, you set what is inexcusable, based upon your “social, moral, cultural, personal standards, and world-view. Thus, any claim upon perfection can and will always remain a relative perfection.” Because we are human our standards are, in fact, imperfect.
My history shaped me. Yours shaped you. Our strong desire to force feed our individual idealistic concepts of perfection down each other’s throats is just another form of human imperfection. No one can make another human being think or feel anything. We can’t transfer the history that shaped each of us onto someone else. We are not transferable.
Have we become too hypercritical of each other? Are we forgetting to recognize that people are designed to make mistakes? Are we losing our ability to forgive? Imposing our ideals of perfection, on each other, may be robbing us of the essence of being human. Imperfection, by my estimation, is the very thing that makes us human in the first place.