The peer pressure of perfection and how to get rid of it.
Photographed in Seltjarnarnes, Iceland
Why is it that so many of us seem to have forgotten how living actually works?
So many of our generation spend their days searching for nonstop and complete happiness. In books, in conversations, in constantly reminding ourselves what to be happy about, thankful for. We are so busy writing lists of what to appreciate that we totally miss out on just going out there and well, live. The good and the bad, the happy and the sad. The health, the sickness, the wealth, the shortness on money, the nature, the city, the active and the lazy days, the lonely ones and those filled with love. It all matters, it all is living. Not just the evenings when you can note down at least five things you have been grateful for today. Also the ones where you are angry or cry into your pillow. Living is changing the things you can change, not forever educating yourself on how to find the strength to do so but to execute your plans, bit by bit and step by step. Living also is coming to terms with the things you can't change. And you don't have to love every single second of it. You are allowed to despise parts of your job. Nobody can tell you not to have days where the mirror isn't your best friend. You can be annoyed, desperate, you can be all of it. You can be human. Weak and strong. Quiet and loud.
We feel like the society we live in, the one with enough time and freedom to constantly overthink - it's a society consumed by the search for perfection. Perfect happiness, perfect health, perfect contentment, perfect relationships and that not just means with your partner, also with your friends and most importantly, with yourself. You are supposed to love yourself no matter what. To us, that's just completely overdoing it. You should of course work on yourself, on becoming a better human. For others but mostly for yourself. But to us, self love doesn't mean to embrace all your flaws and weaknesses without thinking twice but to forever work on them. To be emphatic, to be kind. To learn how to make life easier for yourself but to not make it ABOUT you alone. You don't have to egoistically put yourself first, no matter what. Being a good friend, partner and above all, good person mostly means putting yourself NEXT to others, not above them. We find it highly strange, this new trend of "well, I know I am difficult but you have to accept it because that's just who I am and I love myself exactly like that' (Really, though? First of all, we all are difficult somehow. Second of all, in some cases covering up being egoistic and intolerant with "I accept myself as I am" is not self-love but only means that you actually enjoy being an asshole.) Maybe it's because you are told day in and out that seeking to change who you are is an overall flaw. But just because people all over Social Media preach that you have to embrace yourself doesn't necessarily mean that you have to follow their words religiously and blindly. The same people say that you should not compare yourself to others (but maybe that pushes you to finally follow that one dream you never dared to), that you should travel all the time 'cause that's what utter freedom is about (but maybe freedom to you is being a full-time mom or a business women that is a rising star in the world of engineering and you find a glass of read wine on your couch way more appealing than hiking the mountains of this planet) - you're told that you should do this, you should do that, feel this and feel that - and instead of giving us this utmost freedom we all seek to find it just gives us nothing but more rules on how to be, feel and act. It is as if we've stepped out of one cage and then fell right into the next trap.
Truth is, there is no such thing as perfection. And we personally are happy there isn't. There is no rainbow without sun and rain and the beauty of life is the mix between struggling and succeeding. It's all a part of it and we can't replace it by nonstop happy times just because we read ten books about how to find our absolute fulfillment. If we would stop looking for it and just take life the way it is - ups and downs, tears and laughter, love and loss - then we would truly live again and most likely feel more fulfilled than we do while we are searching for this so-called perfection. We want it all and we wanna feel radiant while doing so. We blindly follow all the trends because we hope at the bottom of them there must lie the key to true happiness. Problem is that everyone defines a fulfilled life differently and well, that's also the absolute beauty of it. Just because some like their breakfast nicely arranged doesn't mean everyone has to do the same. It also doesn't mean they shouldn't - why not, if it makes them happy? It as well is no guarantee to happiness to follow the hype of 'back to the roots'. Just because Vanlife, Cabinlove and Wild Camping is THE dream for some (us, for example) it doesn't have to be yours. We are so busy to call each other fake, to blame Social Media for ruining their life, to search and destroy and hate and love and envy and worship that we all are losing ourselves over doing so. Somewhere between the things we are suggested to do and feel there lies our very own truth. It isn't in Instagram but it also is not NOT in Instagram. It's not in the books and it's also not NOT in the books. There is a bottom line for all of us. Don't let yourself be influenced, nonstop, by what the others say. Social Media, the radio, in TV shows and everything alike. Take it all with a grain of salt. Even what you are reading right now.
What we have to learn, again is to simply BE. Not write and read and listen and consume, but BE. Out there or in here. We don't have to be thankful all the time. Nonstop happy. Forever excited. This or that. Life is so much more than perfection. It's beautiful imperfection.
Our personal recipe to happiness is to not have a personal recipe. We allow ourselves to breathe and rage and burst out in hysterical laughter. We allow ourselves to be confused, to try to change things about ourselves that we are unhappy with. We try to never obsess over anything. To not get lost. In other peoples opinions or beautiful pictures in our personal feeds. We try to keep an eye on the path we feel like following but we also accept if there are stones in our way. And we feel like it's fine to think those stones suck. We enjoy the little things but we don't force ourselves to see them every day. We are not mad if we miss out. We got rid of all the 'we are thankful for' lists. Of the books that tell us how to find it - that absolute contentment. We just dove back into life with all it's facets. We are happy about the beautiful sunsets but not mad at ourselves if we miss one because we are sitting inside getting lost in a discussion. That's just how it is sometimes. Perfectly imperfect.
We seek moments of pure bliss and we are beyond thankful that we are able to experience them. But no book ever had to tell us that. No other human being, no Social Media feed or podcast. It just came from within once we looked up from our cellphones and opened our eyes, again. We made decisions that led us here and some of them weren't as easy as they might have looked from the outside. Nothing is ever just incredibly awesome. Luckily so. We appreciate it all much more because we went for it and made it happen. At a cost. Everything always comes at a cost. And that's mostly a good thing as it makes you appreciate the outcome even more. We are not happy at all times. Sometimes we are mad, sad, angry, idiotic, full of self doubt, standing in our own way, overthinking to much - and that's fine. It's what we feel being human is about. This simple fact makes every laugh, every tear, every good song, every morning, every dark hour, every sunrise, every missed opportunity, every chance we did or didn't take, every storm, every fight, every bad news, every kiss, every hard decision and every new dream EVEN MORE AMAZING. Happiness does not come with a handbook, it comes with accepting being unhappy at times. Or lonely, or scared, or annoyed. It comes with living. We are thankful most of the time and ridiculously mad at others. We never take our health, the roof above our heads, the food we get to eat and the love we are able to experience for granted, ever. On this planet that all is something many many people do not have the comfort of. Naturally, this simple fact should make us all a little more humble. And we ARE content most of the days. Yet, we grant us the freedom to be annoyingly grumpy on others. We came to terms with unpleasant events of the past cause nothing will ever change them. We came to terms with the fact that everyone is different and nothing is ever that easy for anyone, way harder even for most. We ALL struggle to some extent. We ALL lose our grip sometimes. Still we go forwards not backwards, have big plans but no unrealistic expectations and we most of all don't need things to always be perfect.
We will now argue with the tax office once more and then go out for our daily stroll. We will enjoy the ocean and let the aggressive wind freeze our faces. We will come back home to find an empty fridge and piles of laundry to be done. We will make some coffee and go back to work while waiting if the insurance is actually serious with miscalculating our monthly sum to be paid, again and then spend five more hours in front of our laptops. We'll have pasta for dinner and watch some silly Netflix movie after that. Maybe we get into a fight over something incredibly stupid or we don't have much to say, at all. Maybe we end up having a good laugh over something. Maybe it will rain tomorrow, hail even, maybe the sun will shine in a bright blue sky. Maybe the volcano erupts that has been boiling for half a year now and all of a sudden a lot of people won't feel that jealous over us living in Iceland anymore. Maybe they will feel slight pity, instead. Nobodies life is ever JUST perfect. It's some kind of everyday routine for everyone. Some highlights, some lowlights. We never know, we don't need to know. We take life as it comes, we enjoy the awesome moments and loathe the awful ones. We live. To us, that's more than enough.
It's perfectly imperfect.
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