When was the last time you spent hours and hours thinking about and planning the perfect moment? I bet in your head it was perfectly rehearsed and, like every good romantic comedy, the perfect blend of humour and heartfelt emotion. Now, when was the last time the moment worked out as perfectly as you had hoped? Follow up question: was the actual moment with all its imperfections better than the “perfect” one you had planned?
Striving for Perfection
We are surrounded by images of perfection every single day. Social media is a highlight reel of people’s perfect moments. Magazines and TV use photoshop to present us with perfect images. We have to be cognizant of the fact that these images are crafted to be perfect. Without all that work and effort, they would not be perfect. And more importantly: they aren’t natural. This is not to say that striving for perfection is a bad thing. In fact, it is a really good thing and a really great motivating factor. However, it is important to remember that what is perfect depends on the beholder. What you consider to be perfect, may not be perfect to someone else. Keeping that in mind, we need to focus on creating the right moment at the right time and instead appreciate all the moments, flaws and all.
The Candid Photo
I don’t know about you, but my friends and I are always trying to take candid photos. They are so much more natural and truer than the traditional awkward Christmas card-pose photo. Think about your imperfect moments the same way you think about candid photos. It is their uniqueness and the stories associated with them that earn them a place on your wall. All of my favourite photos of myself are ones where I am laughing and not looking directly at the camera. If the photographer catches me off-guard, there is just more energy and liveliness in the picture. Plus, they make the best display pics. In the same way, the imperfect moments are the ones that somehow catch you off-guard and contain more liveliness the any cookie cutter, pre-planned moment ever could.
If you are obsessing over how the moment is not working out the way that you have planned, then you can’t focus on the moment at hand. Mindfulness and learning to appreciate the moment can help you refocus your energy on the present. When you find yourself stressing about how things aren’t going as planned, take three deep belly breaths and breathe out the tension. Then, bring your focus back to the present experience. So just breathe. Trust and allow. And know that even though things may not go as planned, they may end up working out better than you could have ever imagined.
Imperfection Makes Them Real
In being mindful, you will come to realize that the imperfect moments truly are the perfect ones because they have the bumps and bruises that make them real. And these real moments are the ones you will cherish forever. No one ever tells a story that begins, “Hey remember that night where everything went as planned and nothing unexpected happened?” And if they do, it probably isn’t a very good story. The moments we remember most and the moments that stay with us are the ones that take us off the beaten path. They get us out of our comfort zone. And they surprise us in the best way possible. So instead of seeking out the perfect ones, seek out the ones that make you laugh and make for great stories.