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     Volume 8 Issue 90 | October 16, 2009 |

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Tulip Chowdhury

When we learn to accept life within this imperfect world and become used to our not so perfect selves, life seems to sigh and say, “You have found some peace!”

As human beings we are bound to make mistakes. Our life itself seems to run on trial and errors. There are times when we do make mistakes or fail to come up with the desired results. At such times we can step back, assess the situation under which we reacted and see that the imperfect reaction has a logical explanation. We can accept our mistakes and not grumble over it. Holding grudges has a negative impact on our mental health too. We cannot pardon each and every wrong but an act that does not hurt others can be accepted as a mistake. That is, we learn to accept our failures and learn to live with the imperfection within ourselves.

According to the World Database for Happiness the people of Iceland are the happiest. Eric Weiner, author of Geography of Bliss travelled to Iceland and found that the secret of their happiness is that their culture does not stigmatise failure. Icelanders are not afraid to fail or to be imperfect. And so they are more willing to pursue what they enjoy. That is the reason Iceland has more artists per capita than any other nation. “There's no one on the island telling them they're not good enough, so they just go ahead and sing and paint and write," Weiner writes.

Life itself cannot be perfect for us. Life comes with light and shadows, joy and sorrow. When laughter sits on the door, tears linger on the window. We truly learn to live when we accept happiness and pain in life. The greatest joy of life, the birth of a child comes with the sure knowledge of a death elsewhere. A flower blooms knowing that it will wither over time. All living beings come into the world with the sure knowledge of their mortality. And yet we go on living, we strive to live with grandeur whatever span of time we have. Death is like the great imperfection on the cycle of life.

When we learn to live with our imperfections we accept life with its reality. In this mad race for social success, career and money people vie with each other. However everyone cannot get to the top position. There are times when we get to second place. What is wrong with being second in some positions of life? Being number two for once is the imperfection we should cope with. If everyone wants to be at the top then who will be in second place or be the runners up? There are many who feel humiliated to play second fiddle. But just think, if everyone gets gold in the race who will get the medal for the silver or bronze? Those are valuable too!

The society is like a puzzle set that sets us in various role models. We have to play the roles of fathers, mothers, aunts, grandparents and the other bondages come with expectations of our roles. As mothers we cannot be the perfect mothers nor can the daughters be the perfect daughters. The aunt may not be able to keep in touch or look after the nephews and nieces although she loves them very much. In fact our hectic lifestyle leaves us with little time to pursue our social obligations. Even the parents are not able to give enough time to their children. That may make us imperfect parents but not bad parents. We all have our faults and we learn to live with them. What matters is that we try our best to be something and then when we fail we accept our failure and adopt other means of making it up.

Our chronic expectations of success in every walk of life can land us in chronic depression at times. However, a recent study shows that people can be happy without getting what they want. Who says we'll be miserable if we don't get what we want? According to Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert, our "psychological immune system" lets us feel real, enduring happiness even when things don't go as planned. This kind of happiness -- "synthetic happiness," Gilbert calls it -- is every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for. The game of life is to accept failures or imperfections of life without feeling guilty or let down.

Accepting the imperfect self is imagining a happiness not to be chased after but to be found within. It also means you are not tying your happiness to what you have but to what each you are. Worldly possessions so often hinder our pursuit of true happiness. Material wealth matters less when we think of how short life is and how we cannot take any of our worldly goods to the world hereafter. They might have mattered if like the Egyptian Pharaohs we had believed that we will need them in the next world and had to carry them to our grave. But we do not have to do that and so we can take pride in sacrificing and letting go of our desires of material wealth. Where our material wealth is concerned the world will be imperfect, we will not have everything we desire.

Expressing gratitude for all we have will help us to accept life with its various short comings. We cannot have set ideas about perfection in our fellow beings or life itself. Life will come with all its ups and downs and we will be more at peace if we learn to accept life as it is; its lights and shadows.

As human beings we are imperfect but that should not be our excuse to do the imperfect things. We, for our part must try to be perfect in thoughts and actions and when imperfections set in we must accept those gracefully, without humiliation or pain. Perfect or imperfect, the concern should be not to hurt others or be hurt by others as we sail on in the oceans of life.


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