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Jewish Journal

The Harmful Myth of Perfection

by Lia Mandelbaum

January 31, 2011 | 12:41 am

Photo by Laurel Johnson Photography

I doubt that there is a single person on this planet that has not wrestled with deep-rooted fears, toxic anger, and great sadness.  We are not weak or crazy in having them, because they are a part of the human experience, and often the touchstones of spiritual growth, however we must not underestimate pains capacity to harm our quality of life.  I have come to understand that these emotions have oppressed me by distorting my perception of reality, blocks me from connecting to others, disconnects me from my heart, and hinders my ambitions and ability to love.  This suffering blinds me from the tremendous beauty of life, and separates me from God.  It is crucial that we choose to empower ourselves to attain freedom from the bondage of self, which is discovered on the journey towards “truth” and within the belief that you deserve to love and be loved.

There have been times where I have had anger towards a person or situation that consumed me both energetically and mentally. In the past, I have found myself unable to let go and stop obsessing over my feelings.  I have come to understand that anger is a defense mechanism for me, which I used to disguise and protect what is usually underlying pain and sadness.  Although I rarely find myself getting angry these days, I have found that one of my most powerful tools for letting go of anger is by having empathy.  Empathy has helped me when I’ve felt betrayed and hurt by someone I trusted.  Instead of getting stuck in resentment, that would only further wound me, I try to understand and relate to where they may be coming from, saying to myself “perhaps they violated my trust over their desire for someone else’s approval, and I can understand how it feels to want approval so badly.”  I wish that empathy was always the solution, but there are times when I’ve been tested and it hasn’t always worked for me.  It is my responsibility however to continue to search for solutions that leaves my dignity intact. 

For a majority of my life, and up until a couple of years ago, I thought of myself as stupid and unlovable, and felt lost and scared.  When I was all wrapped up in my misconstrued identity, I was unable to see or process the world around me as it truly was.  Living on a path for truth, I’ve dedicated myself to seeing the world with clarity, and allowing myself to be vulnerable enough to let people see me, as the imperfect person that I am.  I believe that the concept of perfection is a dangerous and harmful myth.  Within every broken person lies delicate beauty and the divine potential for transformation and healing.

People have asked me how I can be so open in my blogs.  The truth is, I choose to be open because of the tremendous sense of freedom and healing that comes through revealing my process of introspection.  I hid who I was for such a long time, and lost my sense of self through the fear I had about not being lovable, and my hope would be that someone who reads this will relate to what I write, and feel a sense of peace knowing that they are not alone.  Our society teaches us that being vulnerable is a weakness, but I believe that being vulnerable and raw is courageous and necessary.  I strive to live my life knowing who I am and stay in touch with my essence, and wish the same for others.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tera “Nova Jade* Greene is a professional lesbian of color and Jew by Choice.  She is a producer of music and film, a renowned DJ and always finds herself in the midst of...

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