In the quest to become a perfect version of ourselves, our focus is perpetually fixed on our shortcomings and we become obsessed with improving any deficiencies in our lives. Like a disease, our acute awareness of imperfection begins to infect other aspects of our lives. No longer are we focusing solely on ameliorating our own character flaws. Now, what began as an internal aspiration to better ourselves begins to spread and affect others.
The imperfections of those around us begin to complicate our quest for a perfect life. Our focus shifts from correcting our own character flaws to trying to correct the character flaws of our partners (children, family or friends). We offer suggestions and innocent critiques to try to encourage them to change and improve. Our intentions are good, yet toxic to the relationship. By focusing our attention on their flaws, we poison the relationship. Before long we forget all about the positive qualities of that person, our supportive tone becomes critical and our gentle encouragement turns to venom.
Our effort to create a perfect life has taken an unexpected turn and now, rather than perfection, we have become perfectly unsatisfied. How can we pursue a perfect life without harming our relationships?
It is Your Journey, Not Theirs. When our lives are intimately entangled with others, the boundary of individuality is often blurred and it is easy to lose our sense of self. When you become frustrated with others, remind yourself that this is your journey.
Lead by Example. If you want someone to change, instead of criticizing their current lifestyle, be a model of success. When people begin to notice a positive change in your behavior or attitude, it will influence them to improve their own life. Share your excitement about the changes you have made!
Be Patient. Breaking a habit or changing a lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight. Your own transformation is the result of your desire to change coupled with persistence and daily diligence. Be supportive and offer encouragement rather than judgement.
Watch Your Mouth. Words are powerful and have the potential to lift a person up or tear them down. How you chose your words affects your relationship with others and can influence their desire to change…or not.
Appreciate People for Who They Are. Why is this person a part of your life? Is it because they make you laugh? Do they support you in times of need? Maybe they share in your wild and wacky adventures or just love you unconditionally. Stop focusing on what is wrong and appreciate them for the person they are.
Perfection Doesn’t Exist. Not really. Even if it did, it is the imperfections that make life interesting. It is the challenges that give life meaning. Try not to get hung up on perfection. Instead, enjoy life for the gift that it is, bad breath, pimples and all.