Imperfection is not our personal problem – it is a natural part of existing. – Tara Brach
We tend to place restrictions on ourselves based on how we perceive we will be seen or accepted by others as a natural and appropriate defense mechanism that has served our ancestors for generations.
For ages if you were not welcome in the village, it could certainly mean death. But as we explore that of ourselves which we have discarded in striving for the insurmountably-impossible goal of perfection that we know is a myth yet still idealistically follow as if it were a concrete possibility, we might find the very thing that gives us life force was locked away in fear that it was unacceptable.
And whose idea of ‘perfect’ are we aiming for? It may not just be the societal agreement that Chris Hemsworth as Thor or Gal Gadot are the quintessential ‘good looking’ avatars of our culture (and we must therefore seek to look and even act like them). Perhaps it is more local, with the family dynamic coming into play.
Isaac Newton initially was forced to leave school to become a farmer as his father was. He didn’t like it. It sounds so ridiculous now in modernity, but at the same time can you blame his mother? She likely learned through surviving that choosing a career that ‘provided guaranteed income’ or was more stable would be the logical choice for survival.
When dealing with famines or wars, there is very little room to discuss theoretical mathematics.
Tara Brach’s book ‘Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha’ and her work in general is helpful to engage in a routine practice that expands beyond this inherited human (and very helpful in a survival sense for the past x generations) tradition of casting away parts of ourselves that are deemed ‘imperfect’ for the success or acceptance of the societal or more-local dynamic.
If you were to change one word from Tara’s message above, ‘imperfection’, to ‘perfection’, it would also have an interesting suggestion — that the illusion of ‘perfection’ that societally exists today in its watery, elusive, ethereal, yet in-your-face form, is a natural part of existing (in our human dynamics that we have created).
Perfection might not exist in and of itself, but it is a striving part of existence that requires conscious consideration to go beyond. Otherwise, are we not engaging in an often-unconscious and evolving agreed upon collective mythos of what the new target ‘perfect’ looks like?