Killer perfection

Sometimes life is such a bummer. There will be times when a painful heartache or a pink slip at the office comes like an unforeseeable mountain whose Herculean dimensions will dwarf the tallest of our resilient spirits.

While some of us look for ways to get past these metaphorical mountains, some might succumb to the ceiling fans and sleeping pills in hopes of a brand new afterlife, if at all there be one.

What is it that governs the working of the Eros and Thanatos, the Freudian forces of life and death within us? As a student of Psychology, the question has always interested me and after years of trying to find an answer, I have worked up a little theory of sorts.

Impulsiveness of the Facebook generation is oft cited as the major reason behind the sharply rising suicide numbers today. Focussing on this easy explanation might be making us oblivious to a more potent trigger at play, namely the uncontrollable drive of a society to seek a forever perfecting perfection.

Picture this. When we are kids, we are constantly motivated to line our shelves with all the fancy trophies and medals which are up for grabs. As adolescents we are expected to bring home the best of mark sheets so that we can sport a sweatshirt of the most hallowed college in the country. Adulthood has its own story with big shot designations and plush cabins being the barometers of success. Even something as personal as family life is not spared. A photograph of our beautiful wife/caring husband along with two bratty kids on the living room wall remains the ultimate testament of a life well lived.
It is not criminal if our pay cheque only reads four figures or if we wind up minus an illustrious progeny. But this just does not fit the ideal of perfection that we’ve been taught to revere.

Average is fine, but who wants just ‘fine’ after being born of expecting mothers who read intellectually stimulating books and put up posters of beauty queens in hopes of  labouring the next Einstein and Miss Universe? Perfection in every inch of life has become more than a habit. A disease would be a more justified nomenclatural fit. Now if Darwin is anyone to go by, we pass on the characteristics which help us strengthen our chances of survival to the future generations. So the quest for perfection becomes an automatic qualifier as it helps weather the competitive onslaught.

But here comes the burst, the prick to our evolutionary plans: the definition for perfect is incessantly stepping up while the age at which we are supposed to set those milestones is stepping down. Some of us will then inevitably be squished despite our best efforts. It’d therefore perhaps do more good to stop this mad run and declare that it is OK to have a life divorced from the societal standards of fake perfection. It really is.

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