Nobody is perfect!
A relationship is a big commitment. And finding the right partner is the half battle won. However, there are times when we want our better haves to be...
A relationship is a big commitment. And finding the right partner is the half battle won. However, there are times when we want our better haves to be perfect. But it is not easy to find perfection.
I'm a 37-year-old man, I am unmarried. Don't seem to find the right kind of woman no matter how hard I search. I feel I need a perfect match. I seek perfection in everything I do. Work, home, everything, everywhere. I've lost friends and my family too because of this. I feel lonely and need the perfect partner to complete me. I come from a very strict, conservative and authoritarian background. I lead an extremely disciplined and serious life. I'm extremely well-placed because of my personal discipline. Everyone says I'm wrong and that I need to loosen up.
What is wrong with me? Every potential partner rejects me once they talk to me. Please help!
Ans: I appreciate the hard work you put into being disciplined and being well-placed at your work. And I acknowledge that you are feeling lonely, as the proverb goes 'It is lonely on the top'. So, let's talk about what is possible realistically in life...
Sometimes even the good things in higher dose maybe not palatable! Gottman, a pioneer in the study of marital relationships found that even the most loving and compatible relationships have on average, 10 irreconcilable differences. Statistically speaking, perfection is simply not possible, one can only be as perfect as possible for the situation, which by itself is constantly changing! The expectation of yourself and others to be perfect can be helping you improve yourself, but at the same time, it appears to be coming at a heavy cost, such as losing friends and family. These expectations may become hindrances in connecting with others and developing a relationship when they become too rigid. I recommend that you think of areas in your life where you already are flexible. List out areas where you are willing to compromise and set a goal to increase the areas where you tolerate imperfection, in life, yourself, and in other people as well. To help with this, think about the possible silver lining and positive side to when a situation doesn't come to your expectation. Sometimes you may have learnt something new, discovered a strength, or even had the opportunity to be different from other people.
The good thing about the human mind is that we can train ourselves to overcome some of the set and difficult patterns that have become a part of one's thoughts, beliefs and actions or behaviour.
I also would like to ask you to think about how you react to these situations where another person is imperfect.
What have others described your reactions as? Do you ever lose your temper? Have you often pushed your loved ones away when they did something you didn't like? Do you tend to become controlling if someone doesn't follow your expectations? When you think about these things, I want you to also think about- What are the possible new ways you can react in these situations?
The first step is being self-aware or seeking help to understand those patterns. It is important to be open to advise, a suggestion that may seem critical at times.
The art of letting go of set ideas, expectations and actions to allow free flow into your life take some dedication to the idea of you having a wholesome life, complete with family and friends.
Do reach out for help. All the best!
- Vasuprada Kartic
Anthroposophic Counsellor and Psychotherapist.
Ans: Dear friend!
In today's world, perfection is overrated and a clear path to stress.
Everyone wants to be perfect, the perfect son, father, brother, friend, wife, sister, employee, employer…and so on and on and on…
Who defines perfection?
What is imperfection?
And who is the Mr Perfect or Ms Perfect?
Search for a loving, doting, fun loving partner and you are bound to find one who enriches your life.
Search for the 'perfect' one and you will search forever.
Usually, children who have been brought up by authoritarian, strict parents have anxiety related issues and a sense of perfection that comes from constantly trying to please parents with high standards.
Do you also have habits such as hoarding, checking, counting and constantly verifying rituals?
Do you wash, bathe or scrub frequently?
Do have a fear of contaminants?
Do you have repetitive, pervasive and intrusive thoughts?
If you answered yes to a few or even one of these above questions...you could be having OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Please don't think I am pushing a diagnosis on to you.
I'm merely mentioning other possible symptoms that might be present along with your need for perfection.
Let me try and give you some pointers on how to work with this.
v Relax. Do some deep breathing.
Lower the bar...the bar should never be unreachable.
vLook for a chilled out earthy partner who can make you laugh.
v Take time out from work. Join a gym, work for a social cause, visit orphanages, gather old friends, go for long walks or drives, take a vacation...anything that makes you feel relaxed, alive and gives you a change of routine.
v Start writing a journal. A chronicle of your thoughts and behaviours helps in analysis and facilitates change.
v Practice mindfulness.
v Start a new hobby.
v Forgive those who have hurt or wronged you...clear the heart of burdens.
v Indulge in charity, give back to the universe, what it gave you.
v Do consider getting an evaluation for the anxiety and see if you have any OCD or personality issues that you may need professional advice and guidance.
v Practice Cognitive Behavior Therapy with a therapist. It will bring about a huge change in your thought process.
v Loosen up at work, plan office parties and get-togethers. Let your employees see an easier side of you.
v In case you need professional help, don't be shy or feel stigmatised.
v It's never too late to change.
v Learn to love yourself.
v Appreciate yourself.
v Smile! It's a beautiful life!
v Transformation isn't easy...
It's never easy to come out of your comfort zone. Let me assure you that the effort is worth it! I wish you luck with your metamorphosis and I do hope you find a fun loving, affectionate and loving partner.
- Dr Purnima Nagaraja
Consultant Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist.
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