Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Coloring Outside the Lines: a reflection on perfection

"It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful," is the slogan of one of my favorite interior design blogs, Nesting Place.  I love this slogan. It's simple, yet incredibly truthful. I also find the slogan challenging. Whether I'm writing, in yoga class, or meeting a client for work, I often cling to the idea of being "perfect" unconsciously.

Occasionally when I write, I experience pangs of anxiety as I yearn to articulate my thoughts in a perfectly accessible and organized manner. During yoga class, I can get caught up in my thoughts. I'll focus on trying to do a pose "well" instead of listening to my body and moving through my breath. Meeting a client for work for the first time, I'll stress about making a good impression. I'll worry about my attire, whether I'm asking the right questions, and how their children are responding to me.

This anxiety and worry is rooted in the idea that humans can achieve perfection, and when it is achieved we are our best selves. This is contrary to experience.  Cyndi Crawford's mole is the blemish that made her famous. Bob Dylan's voice is rough, but his music has made him one of the most influential cultural icons of the twentieth century. A Canon engineer mistakenly placed a hot iron on top of his ink pen, effectively helping to produce the first ink jet printer.

Thus, it's often the quirky out of the ordinary aspects of life that are the most fruitful. When seeking the road of "perfection," we are limiting ourselves. We are looking at a singular road to get from point A to point B. If a singular road existed, life would ultimately be boring. The alternative to perfection then is creativity, originality, and ingenuity. When we work toward creativity and originality, our feeling of freedom can be expanded.  Perfection gives us strict guidelines. Creativity allows us to color outside the lines.

It's time to truly color outside the lines boldly and brightly. It's time to celebrate our inherent creativity that may not be perfect, but is certainly beautiful.

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