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Don't become perfect, you'll have no one left to relate to

I'm very fortunate to be part of a small group of men who meet once per week, every week, to work on ourselves and support each other. The group is called "Men who Meditate" and the two consistent threads of our sessions include (1) meditation, and (2) themed discussion topics.

One of the requirements of this highly intentional group is that we bring our full selves to bear - no hiding in dark corners. It's a space that allows people to speak truly and reveal themselves honestly, with all of the mess that comes with our raw humanity. Importantly, our vulnerable exposure is all wrapped in a blanket of genuine love and care for each other's development, and a deep desire to help each other find success, however that word is defined for each of us as individuals.

The group has been going for a few years now, and as a collective we've witnessed every single person going through life's highs and lows at some point. Last week, I went through a low with the group, but rather than feeling weak and exposed by the interaction, I felt alive and engaged. As challenging as it was, I can't stop thinking about the underlying mechanics that left me feeling energised, rather than depleted, by the tough interaction.

The more I've thought about it, the clearer it seems to me:

In most areas of life we do our best to carefully manage the way we are perceived by others, and we avoid topics which expose our personal areas of "weakness". We literally and figuratively filter the pictures of ourselves to represent the person we think we should be in our search for love, acceptance and belonging.

For me, this group represents the antidote to the way we tend to live our lives in most domains.

In this group, there is no sense of shame when a man openly weeps. I'm talking about crying like a baby without the intellectual ability to explain where the tears are coming from or what emotion is being processed. In this group, there is no sense of suppression when one of us needs to rage, blunder, contradict ourselves or admit to thoughts we're not proud of, and actions we feel ashamed of. There is also a deep sense of accountability to hold up the mirror to each other and reveal our blind spots or offer an alternative perspective when needed. In short, we don't need to try and be perfect around each other. We bring our full, messy selves to every conversation, and by honouring what is true and unfiltered in every one of us, we leave feeling energised and connected.

Our quest for perfection as humans is akin to the search for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - you never get there. Rather than being present and experiencing the wonder and beauty in all the colours of the rainbow (which exist on a spectrum all the way from "dark" to "light") we isolate ourselves further by trying to get to the fictitious pot of gold - perfection.

The recognition of our "imperfection" is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and the world around us.

Please don't become perfect, you'll have no one left to relate to.


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