“As I know more of mankind I expect less of them, and am ready now to call a man a good man, upon easier terms than I was formerly.” ~Samuel Johnson
As I know more of myself, I expect less, and am ready now to call a man a good man, upon easier terms than I was formerly. Holding oneself and humankind to a standard of perfection will lead to disappointment and sorrow. Finding room for the imperfections, the failings, the sheer humanness in the self and humanity is to not only see the world as it is, but to become open to the hidden good within.
As a recovering perfectionist I find that as I have learned to be easier and more forgiving of myself I am easier and more forgiving of the others in my life and the world at large. It is a burden that weighs heavily to believe one should be able to achieve that which is unachievable, and doubly heavy to believe that about others. Never finding satisfaction in “good enough”, striving, pushing for just a little more, all sounded like the keys to success to me and perhaps they are. But when nothing is ever quite right, that more could always have been done, steals away the precious moments of rest and gratification. To court such disappointment and failing is the expressway to unhappiness.
Viewing oneself and others with a forgiving mind and heart allows the focus to shift from the negative to the positive. Looking at imperfections as a clue to the hidden value of another, actively searching for the best in each, while embracing the lack of perfection, offers insight and access to the good. With the focus on the flaws we only see a man, focusing on the merit behind the flaws allows us to see the good man. The art of turning one’s focus is one of the key secrets to a happy and contented life. Like a houseplant stretching toward the light we too can grow towards the sun.
Lowering expectations from the unrealistic to the realistic brings the self into alignment with the world as it is. From there we can look to the good in the man, choose to search for the best in what is, and ease the burden of seeking that which cannot be.