Sunday, April 26, 2015

The road towards imperfection!

India is a strange country, not in a positive or a negative connotation but just as an observation. The strangest section among the strange India is the middle class section. This is the section that is always struggling to move towards a higher point than where it is currently, but more often than not it is not able to, never in the first generation at least. It always keeps working the hardest, getting only modest rewards, and whatever little rewards it gets it keeps saving for its next generation.

Among the strange things that quite a big portion of this strangest section battles with is something called 'perfection' which comes from insecurity most likely, especially in the lower middle class family. Meet parents of this section, and their only aim is to make their child the perfect child on this earth. When they let the child meets their friends, the friends should praise the child the most! They want to send the child to the best possible school (which everyone wants to), but they also want the child to have 100% attendance, they want the child to come first in many different things and so on and so forth. I was one such child from one such family.

My father was fine but my mother wanted me to not skip even a single day's school, restrictions on just about everything from watching TV to playing time to what not! I got 4 marks out of 10 once in a class test and I was dead scared to go home because I knew that day I had to have it from my mother! Having been brought up like that, slowly and steadily I started becoming a victim to this disease called 'perfection'. If I miss school one single day even due to very valid reasons, I would cry and feel like the earth is going to shatter. If I come second in the class in any one subject, I would feel like that's the end of my life! Extreme addiction to studies also stems from the fact that I belong to Andhra Pradesh in India where if you study arts or commerce, people would not even look at you - I hear it still is the same in most parts of the state. I would prepare extremely well for an exam and if I forget a small formula in the exam, I would not be able to digest as in how could it happen to me, I tried so hard!

Having such a thing ingrained into me, I was still like that during the early years at my work. I would not use my Frequent Flyer number when I travelled for work, I felt that is not correct :) I must accept life had become very difficult post studies for me. After all, from a perfect atmosphere within yourself, when you come out of it, it is an imperfect world, and it is not bad. But it becomes very difficult for you to adapt to it, and accept the imperfections. It becomes very difficult to let it go or to accept the people around you who let-go. And it is very critical to do that. Till date, that instinct exists in me - when I play a game on an app, I am not competing against anyone but I want to score more than my last attempt otherwise I feel bad. This leads to a lot of stress, you can't concentrate on better things in life due to such small and unimportant things bothering you unnecessarily. It is very bad for you in every way.

My current workplace and industry keeps challenging me on this same weakness of mine, very frequently. There was a day a few years ago when suddenly I went to the cafeteria early in the day, everyone was talking about this viral video 'kolaveri di', and I was stunned on why I didn't know it. Then I realized it all happened overnight. In today's era, you follow many different apps, first thing in the morning possibly you browse through the 3-4 regular apps and check the updates. It is possible that one 5th app you didn't have time to open, go out and learn that it had an update which already everyone knows about. You reach office and people start discussing. I have learnt that it is fine if you don't know it, you missed it because you probably spent that time in something that mattered to you more that morning. Once you are out of this trap, you are also able to set targets for yourself which are practically achievable, once you start achieving them that in turn builds confidence in you.

Some time back, I had written this post on 'Obsession to self-dependence', my biggest learning is if you have the obsession to self-dependence, you need to have machinery to depend on or you cannot be obsessed to perfection, else it is impossible to live life happily. I used to get restless when there was even a small amount of dust around me, because I knew I had not cleaned it up and I possibly would blame myself of not being able to manage everything. Today, I see the dust and know it is there (there is dust on this table which has this laptop I am typing on :)) and when I think I know there were 30 mins when I just sat and chilled or watched TV or read a book but did not use that 30 mins to clean the dust, but I still don't care that much because I know its fine. I let it go :) I have moved quite a bit towards the better side though, now that I am gaining a bit of wisdom may be. But one thing I still cannot compromise on is punctuality. I want to take my dog out at 6:15AM sharp, my husband usually delays by a few minutes and only I know the amount of stress that spreads in the atmosphere during those few minutes. A colleague of mine delayed for a client meeting, he was quite chilled out while I was getting very restless. When we reached the client location, we still had to wait for quite some time, I still want to be on time from my side though I have learnt to let it go.

I see many parents around who want their children to be perfect again, they get stressed out if the child is not learning something in school that the other child has already learnt in other school. This stress passes on to the child too. To all parents, it is not possible to learn and know everything in this world. Let the child be, let the child learn at his or her own pace. Even if the child becomes perfect, there are only so many places where perfection stays, rest all is an imperfect world. The individual needs to learn to accept the imperfect world, and the imperfect world also has to accept the individual. Most importantly, such children/individuals would have extreme problems and would face a lot of discomfort and may go into depression too when they notice imperfections being rewarded as opposed to perfections, and such things do happen all the time. Teach children to let it be; that's how the world is and unfortunately we are to live in this same world!

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