Hamel: Our perception of perfection is dangerous


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Columnist Peyton Hamel believes striving for perfection, or a white picket fence life, is dangerous. Hamel urges people to focus on reality to avoid being blinded by perfection.

Peyton Hamel

There is a family down the street you are dangerously envious of because of their elegantly decorated interior in their colonial home, loving ambiance, close family connection and marvelously talented children. The wife probably works as a real estate agent, while the husband works at a finance consulting firm in the city. “This is the life,” we all say at one point or another. Who wouldn’t want the perfect, white picket fence dream instilled in us by our childhood cartoons and children’s novels? We want to sink in material novelty. Human nature tends to dictate our subconscious alignment for the better and for the worse.

Our perception of perfection is one of the most dangerous ideals we can have. Our vision is shrouded by Hallmark movies and social media, which epitomize our new concept of perfection and produce unhealthy goals for one’s lifestyle.

This includes the dream of a house with a white picket fence. Although this perfect family has their white picket fence and freshly cut green grass, we forget a basic important lesson taught by William Shakespeare in Hamlet: perfect appearances hide hideous realities.

While our realities are not as extreme as Hamlet’s or dear Ophelia’s, we still have our own disparaging facts of existences that blindside us to other’s realities and our own. We may never know what happens beyond that white picket fence. The husband and wife may make a ruckus in the kitchen or behind their bedroom doors, while the children sit behind the doors listening and watching their parents break at the seams.

One issue in regard to perfection is how we perceive it. Perfection is one of the most subjective topics to discuss other than religion, politics and love. Psychologically, our perception of the world around us could derive from a million different things that we are both aware and unaware of that occur in our lifetime. The human mind is truly a mystery. What is realistic? How realistic are our goals? How realistic do we treat our lifestyles? Are we even aware of what realism is anymore?

Let’s move into the social media department: a couple posts a picture of them smiling at about eight months into their relationship. They take a picture depicting what they believe is a perfect embodiment of their relationship. While we may perceive this picture as perfect, their reality may include fighting and constant debate. On the other hand, they could be incredibly happy. But who knows, right? There is no win without the fight. Either way, at that exact moment, their happiness was existent and beyond imaginable. Social media continues to provide a prime example of what our subconscious wants in our lifetime; however, while happy endings do exist, perfect ones do not.

Stay intact with reality. Keep the realism as your right-hand man. Romance is one of many examples in which we attempt to force perfection into our lives because it’s the easiest to change and easiest to influence. Of course, our idealism of perfection protrudes into our careers, academics, social life and internal feelings. Try not to be too blinded by Hallmark movies and social media influencers.