This is one thing I have struggled with my entire adulthood, it has taken me a long long time to realise that there is no such thing as perfection. We can’t be blamed for thinking that perfection is an achievable goal, its what so much of our culture is built upon. But that is all just a way for companies to sell us more junk that serves us no real purpose, we are drip fed lifestyles through social media, television, film, magazines, advertisements and so many more mediums. An obvious one is Starbucks, we see celebrities and social media personalities constantly with the latest pointless frappalattegreenjuicepinkunicorn drink always in their hand while living their “luxurious” daily life, thus becoming a fashion accessory. Come on a coffee is not an accessory but because we are constantly fed the image of the rich and beautiful holding their Starbucks, many think that in order to be relevant they must adhere to the trend. But in reality, not only is the sugar content madness we could make ourselves 20 beautiful coffees at home for that price and having that particular brand serves our lives no meaning in any way.
The Starbucks is just an easy and obvious example of how something so small infiltrates our minds and becomes a “thing” but the bigger issue I have found is that through social media and media in general we are constantly viewing images of people doing all kinds of amazing things and living lives filled with travel, fashion, love and money. Whilst yes, these things are enjoyable to look at in the moment, eventually this constant feed of “perfect highlights” of people’s lives distorts our perception of reality because no one and I mean no one has a perfect life not the richest nor the most famous or successful. Everyone has problems with pain and suffering they just don’t share it because failure and sadness doesn’t sell products.
We strive for this unachievable goal of perfection because we think it exists, but it really does not. We let it hinder our progression and dreams, what if I am not good enough? Or as good as that person (who is probably a professional who has failed 100s of times before getting where they are.) A life that isn’t perfect is way better because we can have the opportunity to try and fail and learn and grow. How boring would it be if everything was just perfect, sure it would be easy but damn it would be boring.
So how do we break free from the reigns of the “perfect life” idea? I have found I am at my one of my happiest times when I am entirely unplugged from media, walking in the local park with my happy pug and loving boyfriend, conversation flows naturally and even after ten years we find out new things about each other. We discuss our future plans and dreams, admire the beauty of nature and really take time to appreciate each other and our surroundings. It is a great way to centre yourself and come back down to reality, begin to let go of the garbage being fed to us and just be in the moment and appreciate all the amazing gifts from the universe it is giant, and it is spectacularly beautiful.
Another thing I have done especially when I am feeling low or overwhelmed is just delete all my social media or if you can’t go that far set yourself a timer on these apps 15 minutes no longer and take everything you see with a pinch of salt, yes your high school friend is spending Christmas in Barbados with her husband and the pictures are beautiful but I bet she didn’t post pictures of the sweaty bus ride from the airport to the resort or the screaming argument with her husband for forgetting to pack the damn sun cream “it is very expensive on holiday” or the fact that she maybe saved for 2 or 3 years to pay for that luxurious vacation as a once in lifetime treat. Every image has a back story and no one got where they are overnight trust me.
The best way to enjoy what life has to offer is enjoying the present, do the things that make you happy and don’t compare yourself to others. The only person you should be comparing yourself to is the you of the past, are you growing and learning? Are you making an effort to be a better you than yesterday? If the answer is yes then who cares what anyone else has too say, because at the end of the day they aren’t living your life, you are. Everyone moves through life in their own unique way, we all experience things differently. You and I could be at the same event and come away telling people two completely different experiences of the event because of our unique personalities, ideas and ways of living, and that is just perfect because if we all thought the same life would be shit.
Another way to say a big screw you to “perfect” is stop buying into materialistic ideals that we have been fed our entire lives. Money, looks, a big home, fancy holidays and mountains of designer shoes do not define success or happiness. These things give us possibly an initial high we love our new shoes for a week and then they just become another part of our daily lives bringing us no other purpose than too protect our feet. However maybe you could have done without those new shoes and contributed it to something a little more meaningful like a new book, or add to savings for that course you always wanted to do. I used to be extremely impulsive especially when I was feeling down or depressed, I was truly convinced that spending money (that I really couldn’t afford) on things would bring me happiness but honestly, I was usually left with a quick sense of satisfaction then serious regret when my credit card bill came in. Now when I want something new, I give myself 1 month to decided weather this is something I really want to spend my money on and can I truly afford it. Most of the time the answer is no, and I am grateful that I wasn’t so impulsive because now I have some extra money to save toward something that will feed my passions in life and not something silly that will give me fleeting high. Give it a go next time you are out shopping. If you slip up or fail that’s ok too, just try again next time as always positive change is not easy but with patience and practice you can do it. I believe in you.
Love Maddison x