I’ve always wanted to be someone I’m not. For years I carried the image of a man I hoped people associated me with, and for years I tried my hardest to match it. But all this time while I was chasing an imaginary person, I was neglecting my actual self.
I ran in circles always pressuring myself to be what I thought they wanted me to be. Before I knew it, years had passed and I still hadn’t given myself time to know who I was. I didn’t want to. The only person I had time for was the imaginary man I was striving to become. “He” was getting all the acclaim while I tried to stay in the corner. Little by little I felt myself disappear.
If we spend our whole lives trying to be what our culture tells us is “perfect,” we are always going to be slaves. This mindset will stay and morph into something ugly. It will bleed into all aspects of our lives; soon we’ll never be satisfied until we get approval. Little by little we’ll forget what our voice sounds like. We’ll end up becoming a blind wonderer searching for something we cannot define, driven by the applause from others.
I don’t want to spend my life searching for something intangible. Most people waste their lives by giving it to those who don’t matter. There is an impulse not to rock the boat by displaying our opinions – as if speaking our minds will damage the world order.
The fear of not matching up is self-tormenting. You have the power not to focus on what the world may or may not think of you – you know that right? Most of the time your thoughts are assumptions based on bogus evidence. But the impulse is to obsess over it anyway. One mindless comment becomes a representation of your value. Then you convince yourself that it’s all you’re worth.
There is so much pressure in our society to be perfect. Our bodies, personalities, confidence, friends, jobs – anything and everything can be perfected. But the root of our pressure has nothing to do with perfection. It’s all about matching up to what we think people want from us.
We’re always quick to find something wrong in anything because everyone has a different idea of what perfection is. Most people are actually turned off by it. Someone who has no flaws is intimidating, which unconsciously becomes the thing that’s wrong with them: “They’re too perfect.”
So at the end of the day, perfection doesn’t win anyway.
The trick to being satisfied with yourself doesn’t lie in perfection, but in authenticity. We have to stop lying to ourselves by convincing each other perfection is what we need to strive for. Society’s image of the perfect body, perfect job, perfect personality, perfect husband is never going to come without shifting reality. Why? Because the image is made up. It isn’t real.
We know what we are inside, yet we try desperately to suppress it. What would happen if we let that spirit come alive? What would happen if we dismiss the pressure to be perfect, block out all the voices, and choose only to listen to our hearts? We wouldn’t be anywhere close to the “image,” but guess what. It will be perfect because there will be no lies.
It’s time to rid ourselves of the lies. Most of us are never going to look like supermodels. But none of it matters so long as the life we’re living matches the man we know is inside.
Believe me, by letting go of trying to be perfect you’re not giving up on yourself. You’re letting go of trying to please the world. Something magical happens when you aim to make yourself happy… the world eventually follows. Try it out.
This article was originally posted on GayGuys.com by David Artavia