Sunday, July 12, 2015
We do it to ourselves really, don't we? Just when you think you have achieved or perfected something and are happy with the method used or the result, you take the bait. You see the headline or the tag line and instead of just continuing to scroll you click on it.
The dreaded click.
After all, why wouldn't you want to strike a better yoga pose, or bake a better cake or take a better photograph, or have a more mind-blowing orgasm, or be a better parent, or get more from your meditation practice, or have the most organized closet...or, or, or.
These are the continuous subliminal messages that flog us daily. Clearly the way you are doing it is not good enough. It's not fast enough or slow enough, or intense enough or tasty enough. It applies to our work, our relationships, our hobbies, our cooking, our possessions, our homes, our travel destinations, our skill at just about anything. Let's face it, none of us are good enough at anything. There is always a better way.
As much as I can see through these admonishments intellectually, there is still a latent curiosity to have a quick peak to see if maybe, just maybe I could change things up a bit to improve upon what I already thought was pretty good. It is almost as though you need to see if the difference between how you do it already and how someone else does it is just a matter of a quick and easy tweak that will elevate whatever it is to some sort of Nirvana. Not content with a simple bowl of hot oatmeal with cream and brown sugar like your mom always made you, no worries, make it like this and turn your morning bowl of gruel into a foodgasm.
It diminishes your reality. That's what it does. Just when you think you have found the perfect little black dress, the September issue of Vogue poo poo's your choice. Think you have a wonderful loving and harmonious relationship? Look there - Sting and Trudie Styler practice Tantric sex and have the perfect house to boot! It's enough to make you stop the madness and just unplug altogether. Turn off the devices and put an end to the constant reminders that you can and should be and do better.
The truth is, we can always improve because none of us are perfect. But do we really need to bother? And what is it that drives us to try? Why is perfection a goal at all, because even those who seem to achieve it in some area of their life often find it does not make them happy. The list of celebrities that we have at one time or another viewed as having achieved the perfect lives and then blew it all up in some way is endless. Think Robin Williams for instance, whose tragic departure from our world almost a year ago still saddens and perplexes us. So talented. So loved. So fortunate. So dead.
I had my own interesting discovery last week. My first boyfriend and first love who I had, until last week, thought had it all - or so it seemed. I knew he had married the girl who came into his life after me, they had financial success, three children who were privileged to attend the best schools, a nice home and a summer cottage. I was happy for him. It seemed he had the happily ever after we all want. As I scrolled my Facebook feed I noticed a woman with a hyphenated name - hers and his. Hmmm, that was odd. I dug a little further and sure enough it turned out his perfect marriage ended some time around 2007. Sigh. One more fairy tale life bites the dust. It does seem that they have both gone on to re-marry and give it another go - maybe this time they will find that elusive perfect relationship. Maybe not.
The key for them and for all of us really may be to not expect perfection. Just wake up each morning and be grateful for how it is, and how they are and be thankful to be alive and perfectly imperfect. As much as I have come to find Dr. Phil annoying, he did have a couple of great ideas when it came to relationships. One thing he used to say that I have never forgotten had something to do with asking yourself "What can I do to make my partner's life easier today?". The other thing he used to say was "How much fun are you to live with?" I think those two simple ideas are really effective. It prompts giving and introspection. And those two activities alone could be enough to achieve happily ever after as long as both partners participate.
And on that note, I am going to the kitchen to make a pot of soup. Not the most mind-blowing, foodgasmic, gourmet's dream crock of hot nectar of the gods. Just a simple, nutritious, tasty pot of goodness, the way I have made it many times before. A "clean out the crisper" soup that will be less than perfect, but more than adequate.
A "good enough" soup. Good enough for me.