- Holly Searle
- London, United Kingdom
- Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.
Friday, 8 June 2012
Why Being Perfect is the Enemy of all that is Good By Holly Searle
I couldn't say how many times I have looked at myself in one mirror or another over the years, but I can tell you that my perception of myself wasn't always defined by my own judgement of what I saw looking back at me, but rather of those who surrounded me.
Realising this actually makes it worse when you think about it. I am not going to harp on about societies adaptation of what is considered to be beautiful and what is not because quite frankly my dear, I don't give a Rhett Butler damn about it now as I no longer believe a word of it.
No Siree, all of that is just so old now or maybe I am just past caring about its effect on me and find it as annoying as an unwanted mosquito bite whilst holidaying in paradise.
So lets investigate a bit further Watson shall we?
A few weeks ago I was listening to a Rabbi on the radio. He was talking about how we all conduct ourselves in society and the effect that this can generate on the well being of others. He concluded his spot, by saying that perfection was the enemy of good and if we all just aimed for goodness rather than trying to be perfect all the time, then we would all be much more content with ourselves and our lives. At that moment the sun came out in my mind and then it dawned on me that this was the very thing that I had being trying to communicate to others who had at one time or another questioned themselves because they weren't perfect.
It was pretty awe inspiring moment to hear someone redress an imbalance in such a simple way.
For so many years I wanted to be perfect and I wanted to be perfect because my so called faults were highlighted by others and this made me conscious of what I didn't have as opposed to what I did have.
I wasted years worrying about being the girl I wasn't instead of being the girl I was and this started to manifest itself in a number of ways. I wasn't too worried about the way I looked so much, but I did start to worry about my weight and would spend ages alone in my room doing various exercises to improve myself. I also ate very little and developed an unhealthy relationship with the bathroom scales which I would stand on every morning and sigh when they failed to provide proof that I had lost weight.
And I wasn't the only one. I remember attending a party where other girls discussed the best colour to wear to make themselves look skinny. All the time my poor little brain was stock piling this peer provided information instead of thinking happy carefree thoughts about the world and its wife.
Then the culture of body dis-morphia began and it wasn't just other young women that I came in to contact with who professed a dislike of their self image as I was introduced to the calorific value of food by a boyfriend who was so knowledgeable on the topic that he could have sat an exam and passed without revising. The poor fellow, he was obsessed with his weight, but when I looked at him, I just saw him and he looked absolutely fine to me. After we broke up I was left knowing how many calories existed in which item of food and how much I could eat to loose or gain weight.
This enlightenment opened up an new chapter to me and I followed his lead and began to obsess about everything I ate in order to loose weight.
When simple dieting failed to make a difference, I am ashamed to say that I opted for a quick fix solution by downing handfuls of laxatives so that anything that I did eat, didn't stay in my system for very long. It was disgusting.
The crazy part of all of this was that in reality, I wasn't even fat or overweight. I was just normal but it would never matter how much weight I lost or how thin I became because I was never going to be satisfied with the way I looked because I simply wasn't perfect.
In order to disguise my imperfect body, I would wear clothes that were far too big for me to avoid drawing attention to my figure. I hid like that for years under layers of clothes being ashamed of myself.
When you are in that zone it creates a sort of tunnel vision perspective from which there is no deviation or distraction as it is all you think about. What you see in the mirror is never good enough as it isn't what you want to see, it just isn't perfect and sadly will never be, but quite frankly what is?
Perfection is describes it as being free from any flaws or defects and I wonder how many of us that can actually be attributed to? Dear God, even Mary Poppins was only “Practically perfect in every way”.
No my friends the reason why we try to be perfect rather than good is due, I believe to the level of love and wholesome nurturing that we all receive as individuals. Yes, yes it is that old nature versus nurture theory again, but it is so true. Nature made us who we are (warts and all) while an unwholesome nurture chose point these out instead of politely overlooking them and embracing us for the priceless works of art that we all actually are.
I cannot remember when I stop worrying about it all, it may well have been the day that I had to move the bathroom scales to make space for something else and I just couldn't find a suitable new location for them so in the end, I just throw them away.
Result, no more early morning negativity before I had engaged with the rest of humanity.
I still know of several friends of whom even today structure their lives around their unhealthy relationship with food and their bathroom scales and it makes me so incredibly sad.
Good is defined as being genuine and to be considered that, I believe you have to accept yourself for who you are and stop worrying about who you are not. Value what you have and not what you think you lack or feel that you are unable to achieve. Life is just too damn short.
I recently came into contact with a young women who had been through the most unimaginable experiences (drug addiction, alcoholism, rape and physical self harm) all due to her inherent lack of self worth. Through the support of a network of friends she began to clean up her act and regain her self and engage with life and all because she began to realise that she was a good person who had begun to value herself again.
I had met her before I heard her story and had thought she was one of the most beautiful young women I had ever met.
Being good is the way forward for all of us as it is more realistic goal, whereas perfection is not.
At one point Mary Poppins sings to Bert the chimney sweep “ Though you're just a diamond in the rough Bert, underneath your blood is blue”. Which is encouraging coming from her and a good note on which to end, rather than a perfect one.