21 Sep 2020

What’s Your Definition Of Perfect?

What's The Definition of Perfect? on vickiarcher.com


To me these ancient ruins are perfect; to others, they are just that. Ruins.
The concept of perfection is a tricky one. It changes.

My thoughts around “perfect” are permanently on the slide. Trying to satisfy our version is often heartache and a losing game. When I was younger I really did fall into the vicious trap of wanting everything to be just so – my definition and my tension, nobody else’s – yet, extremely demanding. There was no major fallout from my precision and yet in hindsight, I wonder if I could have more wisely spent my time. There were some major pluses, which I acknowledge because a perfectionist can achieve and create much when they set their minds to it. The question comes down to the sum gain set against the pressure we heap on ourselves.



So this is where we talk about balance.

Finding that balance when it comes to perfectionism. My experience tells me the two are contradictory. If you are inclined towards the perfect end of the spectrum then finding balance is a challenge. It’s all or nothing pretty much all of the time.


I prefer to redefine the idea of what is perfect.

To change tack and view life and all it offers through new filters. Look with rose coloured glasses instead of finding flaws is one way and altering expectations is another.


Take for example our homes, the way we style them and what gives us pleasure.

Once upon a time I overran myself striving for the perfect scene 24/7; now I am more relaxed and can appreciate the mess of life has a beauty all of its own. A home with the remnants of wear and tear gives me far greater pleasure than perfectly plumped cushions and a library arranged like military soldiers awaiting parade. If the last six months have taught me anything it is to embrace what we have, where we are and with what and who we can.


The same can be said of us.

Is happiness really greater for those who have perfect bodies and faces? I doubt it and am convinced they would be plagued with the same doubts and insecurities as the rest of us. This is not to be confused as an excuse for laziness and isn’t being the best version of us, everything? The trouble starts when we set impossible and unrealistic goals in the quest for a popular version of perfectionism. Rewarding ourselves in that way is far from perfect.


When we start trying to view with fresh eyes, “perfect” can become a whole new vista. Instead of focusing on the flaws and what is not right with a scene let’s draw our attention to why it is the way it appears. Cherish the life, the activity and the wear and tear of what we see. Imagine why what we see is the way we see it. A wrinkle is no more than years of laughter or a painful reminder to learn from; a dishevelled home may be the remnant of a long and lazy lunch. Unfinished work because it’s “not good enough” is the perfectionist’s curse – it may never be right – the art is in doing our best and creating something tangible. Looking for the perfect whatever-it-is normally ends in nothing at all. Hesitation due to perfectionism is as disadvantageous as insecurity and fear.



There is real beauty in the imperfect and perhaps the secret to “perfectionism” is in the imperfect?





 

Forget Perfect, I’m Going With Comfortable.

**long sleeve sweater dress  ||  sweater dress  ||  pleated sweater dress  ||  midi sweater dress  ||  roll neck cashmere sweater dress




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17 Comments

anitapelayorivera

Good topic today, Vicki.

Like those ruins and our perception of them being perfect could be a matter of proximity. They are both ruins and perfection. It’s almost like when someone passes on, suddenly the eulogies are rife with lucid, perfect imagery of that person’s character, something we either didn’t notice while they were alive or we were too afraid to say out loud. Maybe when something is literally set in memory, we label it with a fondness that gives the illusion that it is perfect. So with that, I tend to notice that this waking, bustling, mobile, striving thing we call life is the race toward perfection, which we can’t ever and maybe should never declare as being found. Perhaps that perfection we seek in ourselves and in others is on the other side of our wishing and can only be found in the ruins.

Reply
Alexandra

Perfect timing …..
I managed to get the winter weight shirtdress I was looking for, but am struggling to find an inexpensive simple jersey day dress that I can slip on around the house while I write. The Nordstrom dress may just work. Is it “perfect” …. Probably not. But at my age life is too short to stress out over how high the neck may lie. Thank you.

Reply
Mumbai

I missed you already and were in worries what could happen. Now I see you sitting in the middle of the B.C. I asked myself where are you hidding? The wonderful comperison with these old stones with room deco and faces etc. is amazing and I note that you have changed a lot in your personal view of life. I like also the “non/or nothing is perfect” narrative which also means “nobody is perfect”. Enjoy your days between the stones wherever you are.
in thinking about life and more.

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Victoria

Thank you dear Vicki for this post which completely resonates with me! For many years I have tried to live by the maxim of a Japanese concept known as ‘Wabi Sabi’. In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view which centers on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. Like fallen leaves left on the ground, a wizened flower left in a vase, the lines of life visible on a face and the calm acceptance of who we are at any given moment in time. Calm acceptance and finding beauty in all that is natural. Simple and perfect!

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Julie George Garkov

The Japanese have a term for the beauty of imperfection: wabi sabi. Whenever and whatever I create – from a clay pot to putting an outfit together, perfection is not my goal.

Beauty is in the unique quality of imperfection: the imperfectly perfect. A lover once told me I was perfect. “I’m
not perfect,” I replied. “No one can be perfect.” His response: “You are perfect for me.” That was deeply reassuring and immediately released the pressure his declaration had induced.

I am a language teacher, and a lifelong language learner, and one of the first things I tell my students is: “I encourage you to make lots of mistakes. Only by stretching yourself and taking risks to express ideas you may not have all the words for will you ever progress in a new language.”

It’s the learners who aren’t afraid of making mistakes who have the best chance of improving their language skills. Perfectionists are too inhibited by their fear of ‘sounding silly’ or ‘being wrong.’

As with everything in life, we should strive to learn, expand our understanding, remain constantly curious and involved….aim to be the best version of ourselves…perfection? It doesn’t really exist.

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Jennifer Connolly

Perfect timing, Vicki. Once again, you speak to my thoughts and worries at exactly the right time. Nothing is truly perfect and we waste so much energy pretending or striving to have it be so. Thank you xo

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Deb

The Sweater Dress is yet another thing to thank you for Vicki! I was a nervous novice, buying my first one in Uniqlo in Melbourne a couple of years ago- now firmly rated as a wardrobe “treasure”. They are a flattering, ever so cosy base- you can dress up or down as you please, add scarves, a chunky necklace, slip over a denim jacket, trench or smart coat. Thank you for that VA wardrobe gift! Stay safe, well and warm. We are heading into summer down in my part of the world, bare legs will soon be emerging from the Covid winter. My family is all well, my tulips are blooming, the sky is blue -time to get out walking and feel the sun!

Reply
Eva

I can’t thank you enough for this post Vicki.I am going through some turmoil in my life at the moment and this is exactly what I needed to hear.Your words have really put everything in perspective for me.

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Paula Robinson

Your comment about home, Vicki, brings to mind French interiors. Their very charm is in the laisser-faire of their presentation. It speaks volumes about their occupants rather than presenting a fake front of perfection. Rumpled cushions say: “someone just lounged here and read a novel and has now gone off to fetch a glass of wine” or similar scenarios. As a designer, I loathe plumped cushions because they’re so uninviting. One is terrified of disrupting them. Homes – like our own appearances – need to speak of character and individuality, not the latest fashion or need to conform.

(BTW, How are you enjoying the audio book of “Brideshead”? I eked it out as long as I could and was miserable when the Epilogue ended!)

Reply
Vicki

I have yet to start!… Maybe I’m saving it… it’s next week’s listen :) :) Can’t wait..

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Paula Robinson

We really need to get Jeremy to record more audio books… As you say, he has the most divine voice ever!

I was so pleased to hear that Kristin Scott Thomas has been bitten by the bug and will be doing lots more audio books now. The voice makes all the difference…

Enjoy “Brideshead”!

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Kim

Hazzaar Vicki ! Roman Ruins. And the comments – wabi Sabin and letting it be. I truly admire the nation of Japan and northern Nordic aesthetic. That perfect moment of placement, texture and light. Being zen almost bare… I love it I’ve tried I admire it, but it’s not me. I like rambling gardens flowers and veggies spilling over, pictures of my children, colour give it to me, feast my eyes with it, tea pots tea cups, pot plants, all treated with love. It’s a day to day thing isn’t it…. and indeed imperfectly perfect. I’ll always by something hand made or a little wonky…. a unique.

Reply
Pamela

One of my best friends from school days is a remarkable woman. And warm and bubbly. Yet if a perfectionist had walked into her home years ago, they might have found it busy, untidy and maybe a bit chaotic. Definitely not beautifully styled or in any way perfect. But it was a happy home.
She was a very bright school girl but after an accident that cost her months off school and put her way behind, she gave up temporarily. She took a job and married young then proceeded to have three children still young and in quick succession. During those years she managed to return to studies at night and matriculated well. With her husband’s support, when their youngest child started primary school, she studied medicine and graduated as a doctor. She went on to own and manage a large country medical practice until she retired. Now she does occasional locums working in varied locations where medical help is badly needed, like outback aboriginal communities. Her children have grown up, married and she now has thousands of children and grandchildren. All close and fun loving. But I don’t think being perfect in anything is likely to have entered her mind.
Best wishes, Pamela

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