Why can’t we accept that we’re perfect in our imperfection?
As I’m sure we’re all aware, it’s that most wonderful time of year when we stress over the holidays, wanting to make certain that everything is perfect and lives up to the Currier and Ives vision we have in our minds. We strive for perfection in everything, from the decorations to the gifts, from the food to the music. The problem is that we’re not perfect. Some things will not happen as we planned or hoped.
I realized this as I was knitting a scarf I intend to give as a Christmas gift this year. I’ve been ever so cautious in keeping my stitches just right and not making any mistakes in an attempt to produce a creation that its recipient will want to wear. As I was in the midst of knitting the scarf from a pattern I never followed before, I realized that I knitted one wrong stitch about 5 rows earlier. It wasn’t a major mistake, and it’s not easily spotted unless you look closely for it. However, I know that it’s there. I know that the scarf isn’t perfect.
At first I agonized over it, thinking how could I have made that mistake when I was so careful. I wondered whether I should take apart those few rows of knitting to correct my mistake and make the scarf perfect. Then I remembered hearing something about the Amish and how they make a “deliberate mistake” in those beautiful, well-known, and admired quilts they make. Although the deliberateness has been debated, the Amish supposedly include a “mistake” to show that only God is perfect. Another way of looking at it is we’re all human, and a mistake in something homemade or handcrafted just makes the item more unique.
In the end, I decided to leave that one wrong stitch in the scarf. I concluded that the scarf was perfect just as it was. By a similar token, we’re all perfect, unique individuals just the way we are, in spite of our flaws. Don Miguel Ruiz nicely explains that “We are perfect, but we don’t see that. We are not aware of what we really are because our attention is so focused on what we are trying to be.” Why can’t we stop focusing on an unrealistic idea of perfection, accept ourselves doing the best we can, and really start enjoying the holidays without all the stress of getting them perfect?