You’re Not Perfect And You Don’t Have To Be

How can I make this abundantly clear?

You are not perfect and you don’t have to be. 

You think you’re the only one with struggles, hardship, and pain. You feel alone in your habits, your clumsy ways, and goofy quirks. You did something stupid you think no one else would have done. You scroll through the millions of shallow smiles gleaming on Facebook profiles, drowning yourself in unhealthy comparisons.

You look to your friends–they’re so put-together, right? They have a perfect life, right? Their grass is greener than their bank accounts. They don’t have secrets like you, shame like you, misery like you. Right?

***

“Every successful person knows this: Where there is no freedom to fail, there is no freedom.”

***

Though most men don’t wear makeup, we are all masters of disguise. We cover up nagging habits and deep insecurities with feigned confidence, or we craft a grin to hide the darkness raging inside. To keep up with the Joneses or to get that promotion or to seem strong for our family, we revert to faking it until we make it because we all know no one likes a cry-baby or a wimp or a wuss or a pansy. So, we man-up, tightening our belts, duct-taping our mouths, and straightening our aching backs as we hesitate to accept a dreadful fate: machoism.

Quit the bullshit.

Not only does everyone struggle with this miserable life, but every individual is floundering in their own imperfections, all the while, torturing themselves with the pressure to keep up appearances. When one of us falls from grace, the ground smacks the lucky individual into humble reality to see there is, in fact, no elite. There is no perfection on this side of paradise. We all suck at life. We all get warts and ingrown toenails and stinky farts and blue balls and wrinkles and fears and worries.

“We are all beggars,” Martin Luther declared on his deathbed. “This is true,” he said. “If we were all to sit in a circle and confess our sins, we would laugh at each other for lack of originality,” says Kahlil Gibran. And, I recall hearing a girl in my high school preach, “Everybody picks their nose, and if they say they don’t, they’re lying.”

I don’t know if you pick your nose or not, but I know these three lies are killing men and women everywhere.

Lie 1: “You have to be (or at least appear to be) perfect.”

Lie 2: “Everyone else is perfect (or closer to it than you are).”

Lie 3: “Perfection is achievable in this life.”

Lie, lie, lie.

Get this through your stubborn, stone skull: you are not perfect and you don’t have to be.

You are not perfect and you don’t have to be.

We are all miserable failures. Don’t believe it about yourself? Go ahead, dig up some dirt in a counseling session so you can wallow in it. Don’t believe that other people are failures? Google the mishaps and mistakes of the greatest people throughout history.

“What a downer post…Come on, Doug.”

Well, just so I don’t dig up a dark hole from which we can never escape, know that there is hope. In fact, when we embrace the dismal reality of human nature and become vulnerable with one another, hope is closer within our reach. Hope is on the other side of your obstinate pride. That’s what all that cover-up, Instagram filters, and machoism is. Pride. In the end, we’re all a bunch of prideful assholes.

Let’s just accept we are not our profile pictures. We are not perfect. We are people, broken and desperate for hope. And, in this difficult truth, we can come together to know authentic friendship and brotherhood–to know each other, warts and all.

So I challenge you to humble yourself before others, become vulnerable, embrace the liberty to be the broken vessel you are and watch your life rebuild itself for the better.

Every successful person knows this: Where there is no freedom to fail, there is no freedom.

You are not perfect and, guess what, you don’t have to be.

I swear to you, no one else is.

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