The quest to be perfect: Let’s just love who we are already! by Flo

Perfect Hair.
Perfect Skin.
Perfect Wardrobe.
Perfect Body.
Perfect Laugh.
Perfect Poise.

The quest to achieve perfection is something everyone can relate to feeling at one time in their life. It is so relieving when I hear somebody say that being “perfect” is actually impossible! The pressure of trying to achieve the elusive image of perfection that we can see in magazines can be completely overwhelming!

It is only now in my late 20s after many years of trying to live up to this image of perfection that I have become a bit more reflective and started to wonder why we strive for this perfection in our appearances and compare ourselves to others so much. Why don’t we focus more on accepting and loving ourselves for who we are and celebrating our qualities that make us each uniquely beautiful? Why can we sometimes go through the best years of our lives trying to be somebody else?

Love is a funny thing and it can be hard to understand how to just love and accept who we are, particularly when it seems we are never entirely happy ourselves. How many times have we heard someone say “Oh, I wish I had her hair. I wish I looked like that…” You don’t hear too often “I am really happy with the way I am!”

How does this love for yourself work anyway? When it comes to love I can easily give my family complete unconditional love but when it comes to myself it gets much more complicated. Far from giving myself this same unconditional love that I readily bestow onto others, I instead turn into a harsh critic of myself, ready to pounce on any mistake and point out any flaw or imperfection.There are all sorts of different reasons why we can find it hard to love and accept ourselves completely. For example, when I was thinking about writing this article and the pressures in society to be perfect, I remembered when I was a child, my mother placed a lot of importance in appearance. We didn’t really have much money and she had the belief that because everyone had more money than us that we were somehow inferior and they were better than us, so she used to overcompensate by making sure what we wore and our appearances were perfect when we went out anywhere — dresses perfectly ironed, shoes polished, ribbons in our hair — every little detail had to be just right just so we could be on par with everyone else! I basically grew up with the belief that I wasn’t as good as everyone else. No one ever told me that it’s what’s on the inside that matters and that we are all actually perfect in our own unique way. That would have been so good to hear.

As I see young girls striving for an image of perfection in magazines just like I have done in the past, I can’t help but think of all of the amazing qualities they are missing and not seeing in themselves. And everyone is insecure about their looks it seems, even really beautiful girls! There are perfect attributes that are already there in us all that don’t seem to get celebrated enough:  sweetness, kindness, a caring nature, creativeness, a warm beautiful smile, a wicked sense of humor, or infectious energy and enthusiasm.

There is an art to loving who you are and I certainly haven’t mastered it. But, here’s hoping that more and more we can all feel proud of ourselves for who we are and more and more comfortable in our own skin.

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