Perfection Means Well-suited-ness

“So how is your pursuit of excellence?” I asked Amy as soon as I answered her call.

I won’t repeat her colorful retort, but we both laughed. If anyone had overheard us they would have sensed the mutual affection in our banter. What may not have been apparent is the depth to which we’ve explored the spiritual path together, with me in the role of mentor.

After a pause, Amy picked up the theme. “Ron, I’m really struggling at work today. I have messed up several times, and I’m afraid how I’m treating others is not what it should be. Frankly, I’m just about ready to plan my escape to Mongolia or someplace really remote where I don’t have to deal with this.”

“Sounds like a challenging day. Of course, if you flee, I’ll miss you a lot.”

She chuckled. “I know it’s just a fantasy. Even if I went there, the damn herders there would present me with the same problems.”

“Yeah?” I inquired with curiosity about where she might go with her thinking.

“Yep. I'm convinced. Everywhere I go, there I am. There’s no escaping me.”

Now I chuckled. Amy is a very, very good student of life.

“So do you want to hear a few thoughts about your pursuit of excellence?”

“Of course. Lay it on me.”

“You’re perfect, Amy. Perfect.”

There was a long pause before she replied. “I was waiting for the punchline.”

“Actually,” I began, “Do you know the spiritual understanding from the point of view of Jesus?” As an aside, the question was in itself a bit of a test because Amy has a rather disappointing historical experience with the churches of her youth.

“Okay,” she responded with an obviously tentative tone.

“Great. There’s a scripture that says, ‘Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ What’s really cool is to understand the meaning of the word perfect in the context it was written.”

“Really?” Amy replied with obvious interest now that we’d gone in an unexpected direction.

“Yeah. The proper definition of perfection in that context is ‘well suited to a particular purpose.’ It does not mean to be without flaw. And you are very well suited to that purpose at work and in life. So you are perfect, honey. Absolutely perfect.”

The feeling of the stillness told me we were both in a state of spiritual awareness.

“I’m going to need an example.”

“Okay. Have you ever seen a head of lettuce that was without blemish? No flaws? No brown spots? No misshapenness? Have you ever seen a totally symmetrical, fully colored head of lettuce?”

“Of course not,” she replied with a snort.

“Bingo, Amy. And those flaws in no way impair the effectiveness of the head of lettuce as a food and source of nutrition. It’s very well suited to its purpose. So it’s perfect. Just like you.”

There was a very long pause as I waited.

“Damn,” she said in hushed voice. “That is really cool.”

We laughed together before she added. “Who knew lettuce could make such a great spiritual parable?”

Seeing True

Each of us is well suited to a particular purpose. No exceptions.

Seeing True in Action

Most of us have been conditioned to see flaws in ourselves. It’s a negative, judgmental lens that is common to humanity.

Instead, we might look to understand that to which we are well suited. A fine resource is strengths-based assessments you’ll find in tools like Strengths Finder 2.0.

If you’d like to change your self-perception, look at yourself from a different perspective.