Sunday, March 6, 2011

Nobody has it Perfect

“People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it.”-Edith Schaeffer

Humans aren't easily satisfied creatures. We look. Sometimes we leap. But mostly we do a lot of wishful thinking and complaining. I include myself in that last sentence. If any personality type is a dreamer, it's the INFP.

Yesterday I ran into a friend from elementary school while I was shopping. We were kind of inseparable when we were kids. She was one of my first friends after we moved to Colorado. We were in the same class, in the same Girl Scouts troop, and she lived on the street behind us. I was quiet, reflective and a little unsure of this new world I had to somehow navigate myself in. She was outspoken, a bit of a free spirit and obsessed with Madonna. Perfect match.

I'm not sure if she's still obsessed with Ol' Madge, but even now that we're old and all grown-up, we're still opposites. She's married with two kids. I'm single with none. While we waited in the check-out line, she had to discipline her daughters as they got a little fussy. Her husband stood by and didn't say anything. Clearly she's the one that does the whip-cracking in the household.

On Facebook she has this glossy picture of her life and her family. We all do. Every single one of us does it. We create an image for others to see. There's our public self and our private self. Our public self is that picture of perfection that might cause others to get swept away by the idea that our lives and choices are somehow better than theirs.

As I stood in the check-out line listening to her two girls whine and scream, I thought "hmmm, nobody really has the picture perfect life." If there's one thing I can't stand it is screaming children. It's one of the reasons why I don't have them.

The thing about visions is that they're always perfect. Nothing ever goes wrong and they somehow become responsible for our happiness. The plane of reality we're in now just isn't cutting it. It's making us miserable since we don't have the career we want, the house we want, the right amount of money in our bank account, or the relationship we want. If only we'd made a different choice we would've gotten that vision and that happiness.

The reality is that even if we'd made that different choice and lived the life that we'd hoped for, we might still be unhappy. Not a single choice and its corresponding life path result in a state of perfection. Even Dorothy learned that lesson when she suddenly found herself in the colorful Land of Oz.

A lot of people complain, but don't do anything to change what they're unhappy about. It's easier to just keep complaining and not take the risk of finding out what life would be like if you stepped into a different reality. The pain of same isn't greater than the pain of change. Those of us who do dare to step into a different world discover that it isn't about what's there. It's about growing into who we are and appreciating those lessons that have helped us become someone beyond our imaginations.

Even if the picture that we see has returned to its original fabric of black and white.


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