Perfection is Overrated

Jenny Bautista, 2016-17 Idaho FFA Secretary

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Lately it seems that I’ve been hearing more and more negative, self-critical comments from those around me. The scrutinizing comments range from appearance related to action based. I admit that I, Jenny Bautista, am guilty of becoming too critical of myself from time to time, but luckily I have people who pull me back into reality and give me the opportunity for some much needed reflection. It’s during these moments of self-reflection that I am able to remind myself that I am a human with flaws and quirks that I don’t necessarily welcome, but that make me who I am.

 I think the majority of people forget that they are human and strive to be perfect or reach the level of “perfection” that we’ve defined for ourselves. Everyone has a different definition of perfection, so it is impossible to actually be perceived as perfect by everyone else. Typically we see celebrities and people of interest being depicted in a negative light by the media and compare them to ourselves. We decide that we aren’t “good enough” if these “beautiful people” – who spend thousands of dollars on their appearance – aren’t good enough, but that’s not true. We have to believe we are good enough to know that we are enough, we are so enough – we are human beings.  

What does it mean to be human? In my humble opinion, I cannot think of one simple definition. Instead, George Orwell’s words come to mind: “The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.” Now, I interpret these words as simply living life and enjoying the abundance of blessings life has to offer us. Of course there will be periods of time where we will want to better ourselves – that’s a part of human nature. Take it from me, I understand the stress we can sometimes go through because of the expectations we have for ourselves and the desire for “perfection,” but we cannot let our lives be governed by expectations.

My high school teacher and mentor, Mr. Lee, and I once had a talk about expectations, particularly the expectations I thought others had put on me and self-imposed expectations. Being a man of wisdom, he left me to ponder a wild theory: expectation vs. expectancy. Expectation expects things; it expects a certain outcome or that the outcome will happen a certain way. Expectancy does not expect things. Expectancy hopes and has faith that good will come, but does not expect what, how, or when it will come about. Mr. Lee said, “Every job and school course has expectations, so you need other people in your life that provides the joy of expectancy. There’s no disappointment or guilt, just joy when you experience wonderful things. You have to let yourself have that.”

Taking his words to heart, that’s just what I did. I learned that if we hold ourselves to expectations too literally, chances are we will be disillusioned or frustrated by the outcome. Instead, we should strive for love and acceptance rather than perfection and expectation and that is how we will learn how to embrace being human – flaws, quirks, imperfections, and all.