Settling for imperfection*
August 12, 2009 § 12 Comments
The problem with imperfect people looking for perfect partners is that there is no such thing as a perfect person – only one that is perfect for you
Human nature is a funny thing. Not funny as in slap my thigh, ha ha ha – the kind of funny that causes you to shake your head in a mild sense of bemusement and disbelief. I’m sure you agree with me, because you too are an actor in this play called life. Our relationships resemble a romantic comedy, a tragic romance or a dramatic comedy – the list is endless, but you get my drift.
Everyone wants an ideal relationship, but hardly anyone knows how to act when they get one. That is the conundrum of the human condition. We know what we want, but when we get it, we don’t want it. No one has taught us how to want what we wish for. When God finally answers our passionate prayers, suddenly, we tell him it’s not what we were really asking for.
When you get what you want, you best want it when you get it. This is as true for love as it is for life. Want what you have.
Of course, wanting the ideal woman does not mean you should have unreasonable expectations. The ideal woman can never be ideal. You must know that she will not have everything you want. To get the perfect woman, you too must be a perfect man. And you know just as well as I do that you are far from it. In fact, some men aren’t even trying to be perfect, even though they are looking for Miss Perfect. Not that there is anything unusual about it – but it should be. People generally have higher standards for others than they do for themselves. The world would be in a much better shape if it were the other way round.
To quote from a song by the greatest entertainer to have graced this planet (and the moon), Michael Jackson: “I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to change his ways. And no message could’ve been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”
The great wordsmith William Shakespeare put it in timeless eloquence when he put the following words in Cassius’s lips, in his play Julius Caesar: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Can you imagine how much trouble we could save ourselves if we looked at every single problem with a person through that prism? Of course, there are people out there who are just wrong – take Bruno for example.
Since this person is everything you want, we have to agree that there is nothing wrong with them. Then, if we find reason to fault them, we should question ourselves. What is wrong with me? What do I need to fix in me? “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”
Maybe we don’t really want the perfect person. Think about the Michael Jackson lyrics. The mirror. What do we know about a mirror? A mirror is perfect. It reflects everything. Nothing is hidden. It shows everything for what it is. Perhaps that is the problem with getting what we want. The perfection. If you are not perfect, the mirror will tell you. Naturally some people will take the reflection in accordance to their level of maturity or insecurities. Those insecurities cause us to find wrong where there is none.
What do I mean by this? Allow me: I have had conversations with women who have what they have always dreamed of in a man. “He is everything I want,” they say, and then the pregnant pause. We all know what the pause will give birth to – a “But.” How can there be a “but” if he is what you want? Perhaps it is reasonable to assume that the reason people say “but” is because they are not ready to get what they want. What they want might be too mature for them. Or they are not ready to learn about themselves, or to improve who they are. They are just satisfied with no personal internal progress. The greatest expression of love we can show is to be honest with ourselves.
These people will usually find fault in other people, but never themselves. “We never fight. He calls me everyday. He gets me flowers. The lovemaking is great. He is honest. He makes me laugh.” The truth is, they are just not ready for what they want. Maybe it is the realisation that they might not deserve the person they are with, thus they find reasons to fault them for being everything they want. But who is to say who deserves who?
It reminds me of an episode of Californication where a young girl says to her mother about her dad: “Mom, love him for who he is, not for who he could be.” If your partner loves you with all your flaws, then you should be happy that you are loved for who you are, not who you could be.
We should not seek perfect people, because they don’t exist. If they did, we would find fault in them anyway. Let’s just find other imperfect people to be perfect with. If they accept you for who you are, even with your greater faults, then I suppose that makes them perfect. And if you accept them with all their faults, then I suppose that makes you perfect too.
*first appeared on destiny