Confession: All my life I’ve wanted to be perfect despite the fact that this reflects an utterly delusional desire. The reality is, no one is. We’re all f’d up to some degree. As if to drive this point home, I saw a photo on FB yesterday summarizing the main points of a lecture on enlightenment. The notes read:
STATES OF ENLIGHTENMENT
1) I am fine
2) I am not fine because other people are so f’d up
3) I’m f’d up, ok, and I’m burdening others. I’m so sorry.
4) We are all f’ed up, in a beautiful human way, which is why life is always a bit disturbing.
And yes, the grand poobah who theorized all of this has a PhD from Yale.
So what do we do when we nonetheless remain in the delusional desire to be perfect?
I personally read The Velveteen Rabbit. The book is about a brand new stuffed bunny that longs to become real after hearing that toys loved by their owners eventually become so.
One day, the rabbit’s owner becomes quite sick so the boy’s nanny gives him the stuffed bunny for comfort. The bunny then gets the honor of sleeping with the little boy throughout his illness. The animal gets rolled on and squished and eventually becomes quite shabby. Yet by the story’s end, the bunny becomes real.
The ultimate irony in all of this is that in order to be real, we have to be willing to get messed up. And the more authentic we are, the more we are loved. Go figure. Why then are thousands wasting their money on botox?
For some of us, every time we risk being real and out there, it feels like we’re deconstructing because perhaps at some point, being accepted was a matter of life and death. If we didn’t measure up somehow, love was denied. But the only way to be real is to allow ourselves to deconstruct over and over for there is always death in transformation.
Years ago I had an acting teacher tell me that I would never be a professional actor because I was too afraid to fail. And that the only way to get over this barrier was to truly not care and say f-it.
Well, personally, I think the only way out of this dilemma is to realize that one has innate worth in all the imperfection and decomposing of self, body, ego, etc. For me personally, I only experience that freedom when I turn my eyes to God and feel his beloved gaze. It is then that I realize, I AM REAL. And I am made in the image of God. More important than being perfect, I AM LOVED.