Perfection is an illusion

Strength In Numbers leaders from Left to Right: Ethan Furlong, Kate Roeber, Anna Jones, Principal Carter. Anna Jones

Anthony Wu | Head Editor

March 24, 2023

People’s lives nowadays all seem perfect. Pull up Instagram and all you’ll see are your friends having the time of their lives. Go to a party and while everyone else is dancing and having fun, you’ll feel lost for some odd, inexplicable reason.

Take a look around your classroom. There are probably people “smarter” than you, more “popular” and “well-liked,” more “successful” (whatever that means), or a thousand different other factors that upon the light of comparison, you can hardly measure up to.

As teenagers, we are constantly comparing ourselves to others, striving to make up for those things we lack and forgetting the things we have. In fact, deep-seated fears about loneliness and not being “enough” are applicable to nearly everybody.

This is where Strength in Numbers comes in hand, a club from Mission Hospital dedicated to helping students deal with stress and anxiety through open conversation and teaching healthy ways to manage.

Beginning in March, they launched their “Perfection Is an Illusion” campaign, and if you’ve seen posters around the school, heard encouraging messages on the morning announcements, or even signed the pledge not to be perfect, then you’ve already been touched by their message.

These tiny cards are handy reminders to press forward regardless of self-doubt…because no one’s perfect. Marci Mednick

Their message is one that all high school students need to hear: to take a step back from the endless comparisons, doubts, and the striving to be something you’re not.

Let’s be real for a moment. Your life isn’t perfect. It’s filled with an endless riddle of mistakes, insufficiency, failures, and the inescapable fact that as a human being, you are the only species capable of evil and smart enough to realize that you can never measure up to your ideals.

But it’s the same for everyone else. You just don’t see it because everyone lives with a persona. You can compare yourself to others, but it’s not a valid comparison. You have no idea what someone else is going through on the inside.

You should not compare yourself to others because envy is not helpful, and it’s a form of delusion when you compare the surface-level achievements of another to your full knowledge of your own shortcomings.

Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not who someone else is today, for the only person you can meaningfully compare yourself to is yourself. That’s the only person in the world with your same playing field, and from whom you can accurately gauge your progress. Maybe then you’ll find out that you’re not perfect and neither is anyone else. Maybe you’ll drop the pointless attempt to be everything for everyone, and realize that no matter where you stand, the best you can do is strive to be a little better than yesterday. Maybe you’ll realize that you can never be perfect because to be something implies that you are not something else, and if you try to be everything, then you’ll only end up being nothing.

So, if you have a free moment during lunch, check out Strength in Numbers and maybe even sign the pledge Not to be Perfect. Well, pledge or not, you aren’t. Maybe you can’t be – ever. So don’t be so hard on yourself. “I started out as a Sophomore,” said junior Anna Jones, “It really helped me with my self-confidence, and I think the message is really great.”

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