Letting go of 'perfect'

Jess Henshall

Heading into February, one of the worst months of the year for mental health, it’s a time to ease pressure and be kind to yourself.

In our world of advertising, many cosmetic brands preach perfection: this cream will give you ‘perfect’ skin, shampoo for ‘perfect’ hair, workouts for the ‘perfect’ body. In referring to their products as being perfection makers, it suggests if we don’t use them, we’re imperfect, undesirable even. Our society is so caught up with the notion of perfect, seeking it at every turn, thinking we must be the perfect partner, employee, parent, student. But there is no such thing as perfect.

When we look in the mirror, one of the first things our brain does is picks out the things we hate, the imperfections. This contributes to a negative perception of the self and only strives to make us more unhappy. 

As a health food and supplement shop and cafe, we’re passionate about making people feel happy, and look for positive solutions to problems. A positive outlook on life can drastically change the way we live our lives, focussing on the things that make us feel happy rather than those that make us upset. 

The idea of perfect normally comes from our insecurities about ourselves, and looking to someone else and saying “that’s it, I want that”, our own image of perfection. Unfortunately the media also does this, gathering generalised insecurities and playing to these in their marketing. Its safe to say that lots of people aren’t happy with their weight or skin, so advertisers show someone with their notion of the perfect body and skin, which makes us think “that must be what perfect looks like then”. Of course, with advertising comes a lot of falsehood: photoshop and airbrushing exists mainly to make people look attractive, which in turn makes us feel bad about ourselves, because we feel like we can never achieve that level of “perfect” (mainly because it is impossible - it’s photoshop after all). The generalised idea of ‘perfect’ is one which is forced on us by advertisers, leading to us also viewing that image as ‘perfect’. 

There are things we can do to reverse this, mainly switching from a negative headset to a positive one. A positive way of looking at the world and ourselves, a way of being kinder and easing the pressure of perfection. 

Steps to letting go of perfect:

  • look in the mirror and pick out 3 things you love about your appearance 
  • think of 3 things you love about yourself (non-appearance based)
  • before you go to sleep list 3 things that made you happy today
  • try to not use the word perfect when describing things (there is no perfect after all) - replace it with other adjectives