Who wants to be perfect?

Why do we so often try to be perfect? What feeds our drive to perfection? Do we think we can avoid criticism and hurt by being perfect? Isn’t there always some degree of fear behind perfectionism? We don’t live in a perfect world, so how can we be perfect?

Whilst aiming high is great, striving for perfection can be rather stressful. Perfect expectations are too hard to meet. And perfection is rarely necessary: if everybody always waited until things were perfect nothing would ever get done!

Islam has a different appreciation of the fact that we humans make “errors”. Unlike machine-made rugs with perfect symmetry, handmade Arabian rugs have slight imperfections- so much so that a tiny “mistake” is purposely woven into each carpet!

To the Moslem weaver earthly perfection does not exist. Only Allah is perfect, so trying to achieve perfection is regarded as arrogant even. If a weaver working on a rug dyes wool as needed with the outcome being the colors do not match or age in an identical way, they do not regard this as an error. The rug is simply the way it is.

“In a handmade carpet, the kind you seek, there can be no design exactly the same. Even if you try, it’s impossible. The wool thread may be a different size and they could make only five knots when before it was six. Or the dye is a slightly different colour. Small things, but important. This is the beauty you must see. There is beauty in these inconsistencies. It is human. It is life.”

Dr Ann Katrin Schlag  Unitive®  coaching team