When I was younger, I wanted the perfect nose — one of those small, indistinctive noses that blend into the background of the model’s face on a magazine cover. My Italian genetics, however, gave me another type of nose: a little long, a little bumpy, not terribly unpleasant, but definitely ethnic. I’ve thought about changing it many times, particularly when I started appearing on TV. (We all know the camera adds five pounds, and noses are no exception.) I’ve resisted the temptation partly because my nose is an integral part of who I am that I don’t want to lose, and partly because there’s a rebel inside of me who hates to conform to what society says is perfect.
Perfection is like a carrot on the end of a stick mounted to your head. You keep thinking you can grab it if you run hard enough, and sometimes you can get a little taste of it, but it’s never quite enough. Wouldn’t you rather be happy instead of perfect? I know I would, because when you’re happy, everything is perfect, even a long nose. Here are twelve ways to stop chasing perfection:
- Redefine reality from what you see in the media to what you see in real life. What do the people around you look like?
- Love your unique traits; they make you interesting to others.
- Be grateful for everything you are and everything you have at this moment.
- If you’re doing something for someone else’s approval, let it go. You can’t live your life by other people’s standards.
- Have realistic expectations of yourself and others based on individual abilities and needs.
- Stop replaying criticisms in your head that parents or teachers gave you.
- Hit the reset button for the present time, and recognize all of your wonderful traits.
- Keep a “happy thoughts” journal, and write down whatever makes you happy each day.
- Invite guests for dinner even if your house isn’t spotless. They’ll never notice.
- Be present with people instead of perfect by showing your own vulnerability.
- Slow down and let others catch up. You don’t always need to be first.
- Buy clothes that fit your personality, your body and your style, not what’s “in” or what everyone else is wearing.
For a deeper understanding of yourself and your happiness, learn to meditate and connect with your inner spirit who’s always.