“Could a perfectionist could ever make it to Heaven?” Jonathan startled me with this question that came out of the blue. I asked what he meant by the question.
I interjected, “So we’d have a New, Improved Heaven. It sounds like a marketer’s dream.”
My pal explained that his older brother pointed out Jonathan’s compulsive perfectionist habits–he’s never satisfied with the way things are. Not only that, but my friend has boundless curiosity.
I smiled at my friend and said that both of us are probably poor candidates for the everlasting in the Judeo-Christian Heaven.
Jonathan went on to say that he seems to constantly be in the discovery phase and craves to understand what makes things tick and why people behave the way we do.
“I’ve thought of that, too. But then I get caught up in exploring my options and figuring out how to do them. Every time I do that, more options spring up. Then I have more puzzles to solve. My brother says that’s my curse.”
I said, “We’ll both end up in the Hungry Ghosts Realm together, until we reincarnate into some other people.”
My friend countered, “Then we’ll have new lives and have new places and situations to explore. And I’ll have a whole new batch of possibilities and stuff to improve.”
My point of view is that perfection is an ideal. Perfection is like an irrational number in mathematics like pi–3.1415926…etcetera, forever and ever. Even if you calculate to a million digits, there will theoretically be countless more to figure out. The way I see it, is that the best we can do is to continually make progress.
“So how does that help my odds of getting over my perfectionism?”
“In my opinion, you might never be satisfied with settling for the status quo nor anything like perfection. You might come to the conclusion that wanting to improve things might not be the problem you think it is. Acceptance is a wonderful thing and makes life a whole lot simpler and much happier. Accepting that you love to improve stuff might work for you.”
“So I won’t have to worry about perfectionism and I can just enjoy trying to improve, stuff?”
“I think you’re onto something good. You’d just accept your own personality trait and keep exploring new ideas and territories. That will leave you open to expanding your definitions of yourself. Instead of worrying about perfection, you can indulge your happiness by making progress.”
“So my urge to improve won’t be a bug; it will be a feature.”
“Absolutely! The way I look at it is that ‘Life is always better with pi because there’s always more of it.’ ” (If you borrow that saying, give me credit.)
I see what you mean. As long as I live, I’m going to come across hard situations and I’m going to have to make choices and some of them will be irreversible. But, I still need to work on acceptance and that progress is what’s possible. Perfection is pie in the sky.”
“Or, mathematically speaking ‘pi in the sky’.”
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes English writer and advocate for educational and social equality for women, Mary Wollstonecraft. “Slavery to monarchs and ministers, which the world will be long freeing itself from, and whose deadly grasp stops the progress of the human mind, is not yet abolished.”