I don’t know what perfect is. I don’t know what it means to me anymore, so I won’t even pretend to know what it means to anybody else. But I do know that there are conventions of perfection that people will largely disregard as societal nonsense and then there are the things that we have attached ourselves to. The things in which we believe we’re incomplete without. That in their imperfect state they are elusive to us. That our lives can only begin when they are there, and there in just the way we picture ourselves most content with them.
And I know that these things rarely come to stay.
We spend too much time reaching, having faith that conditional things will hold up our sense of purpose. I say purpose rather than happiness because I think that’s what we’re really getting at here. Happiness is good, but a deep-seeded sense of purpose, belonging, achievement and acceptance is better. And those are the things we are usually attached to. But to a fault.
We forget to stop reaching and to start being. I know this because I grappled with it greatly in my own life. I eventually had to come to terms with it, as does everyone with everything they’ve been in an internal battle with, and it actually ended up being the epitome of my becoming. It was the only floor on which I was left to stand on. The one I had to build for myself, piece by piece. The one that I kept dancing around believing that would keep me afloat. The one I never learned to center myself on. The one where I found myself on my knees when it all became too much.
These are the things we reach for when it’s the staying power that will give them to us.
The real work of it all is to realize that some things are just better when they’re imperfect. The cracks let the light through. Your mindset does not have to be, nor will it ever be, infallibly sustained where you’d like it. It will be the cause of a lot of your suffering. But you are always better for having suffered. An easy, beautiful life does not always make an easy, beautiful person.
You can always tell the difference between those who have had to break through to the deep, scary, unpredictable and dark parts of themselves and the people who haven’t. There is a depth that suffering delivers you to that is incomparable to anything else.
You’re better off a little heartbroken. You’re better off having to be reduced to taking literal baby steps in your everyday life to recover. They will re-introduce you to what really matters. You’re better off having had someone you loved so much that they had such a powerful grip in you parts of you were torn out and beat up and changed for having known them, and had to be rebuilt when they left. You should thank them for handing you a part of yourself you wouldn’t have found on your own.
You’re better off having some self-doubt. It keeps you grounded. It shouldn’t limit you, it should keep you attuned to reality. You’re better off with criticism that you can take seriously. You’re better off if someone gives you a reason to think about your actions or stance on something, even if it comes in an unpleasant way. You’re better off if you question yourself.
You are better off for having to repent. You become a different person the day you apologize not just so someone else will forgive you.
You’re better off if your self-love is a little messy. Actually, it’s messy love in general that really gives us what we want and need. It’s someone who is faced with the choice of sacrificing for us, because seeing what they’ll choose is important. Someone with whom our circumstances would indicate we shouldn’t be with, because doing so anyway will say the most. The people who we come back to at the end of the day, not because we are desperate and compelled by the love we’re still seeking from them, but because there is some tiny little fire that lights up inside us when they’re around. We know nothing indefinitely if it’s never challenged.
And your self love is nothing if not grown out of the most pressing situations. You build it when it’s the last option. When the only thing you are left with is whether or not you’re going to love yourself or drown in your pain because you waited for somebody else to hold you up.
We cannot keep waiting for perfect. We have to settle into what’s beautiful, and what’s here, and what’s waiting to be recognized as such. It’s the only way we’ll be able to move on and it’s the only way we won’t always feel like we need to.