The veil of flawlessness.
Our society plants interesting seeds in our mind right from our childhood.
Honestly, it’s no one person’s fault but collectively we all could be better for each other.
One of the really fascinating seeds infused to us at an early stage is to — “hide your flaws”.
Be FLAWLESS, they say. Don’t show that you are prone to making mistakes or errors in judgement. But the challenge is that anything worth learning in life only comes with practice and that includes making mistakes.
“Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.” — Samuel Butler
Failing until we succeed is the only way we learn and get better at any given skill — right from the rudimentary ones like learning to walk as a baby, learning to speak, to bike or to excel at a sport etc.
Yet there seems to be so much stigma around failing in public. People get so defensive when they have to own their mistakes in the public domain even when they know it’s genuinely an innocuous error in judgement.
The margin of error gets tighter and tighter as you grow old and once you hit a decent age/stage in life, you are expected to be perfect. And sadly many people act like it too. They drudge through their life hiding behind the veil of flawlessness.
This need for faux-perfection probably is a reaction to others’ constantly criticizing and judging your moves which is alarming because just like kids, adults make mistakes too when they are faced with something new and should be given a benefit of doubt.
Well, in the case when they are not given (which is the default these days!), be honest with yourself anyway. Are you a really flawless perfect person? If not, stop signaling that you are to others and be authentic. You are a human with fleeting emotions and moods and there are times when you will f*ck up. It’s OK.
I wonder if this need to “signal” perfection to each other comes from our inherent desire of “social ranking” which is a strong primitive trait shared by all humans.
I don’t know if there’s an anti-dote to the obsession to get a higher social rank but may be we can all be a bit more forgiving to each other. A bit more appreciative of the humanness in others.
“To err is human to forgive is divine.” — Alexander Pope