I believe that perfection is one of the hardest concepts to define. If you sit down ten strangers and ask them to describe what they would define as perfection, there might be some similar attributes, but you will likely get ten vastly different ideas of perfection. You can see this concept played out in whom we choose to become romantically involved with. Personal taste and preferences vary so much from person to person. Even if you take twins and look at the people they are interested in dating, one might like beards, while the other finds them repulsive.
On the other hand, I believe that the media is defining perfection for us. Think about the media’s portrayal of perfection. It is generally a very specific type of person with similar attributes, characteristics and habits. This is the kind of person that our media tells us that we should strive to be. I don’t even feel the need to describe this person because, whatever you are picturing in your head as you read this, it is probably exactly what I’m talking about.
So if we can agree that everyone has his own perception of perfection, and that the media defines perfection in our society, how do the two co-exist? I believe that most people acknowledge the media’s concept of perfection, but also realize that it is unrealistic. On a personal level, I believe that people define perfection as what would be perfect in their own lives. The media’s portrayal of a perfect person does not mesh well with everyone’s actual life, and therefore generally lives on as a fantasy and not a reality.
As adults, we can understand this idea, but it’s harder for young people to distinguish between the perfection that is realistic and the perfection that is fantasy. As we’ve talked about many times before, having an unachievable ideal to live up to can give our young people self-esteem issues. This one isn’t for the kids, I’ve told you all you are beautiful and wonderful as you are. This is for the parents. Please tell your children how great they are. Let them know that in your eyes, they are perfect. As we as a society become increasingly inundated in media and messaging that bombards us with ideals and standards, your children are going to be confused about the concept of perfection. It is at least partially your responsibility to make sure your child has a positive body image and feels good about him/herself as a person. Uplift your children and let them know that they are special and perfect to you.