Growing comfortable with not being perfect

Perfection is impossible.

That idea is something that, as a self-diagnosed perfectionist, I have had to come to terms with through the last few years. Then again, it’s something I still don’t have perfectly handled.

Still, there’s absolutely no denying that everyone has slip-ups, and we certainly all make mistakes.

Lord knows, I’ve had my fair share, but the Lord also knows I’m not alone.

In fact, all of us “imperfect folk” are in holy company.

On March 2, as he was delivering his Vatican Blessing (as he does every week), Pope Francis had his own public blunder. While addressing his religious constituency in Italian – not his native tongue – from a balcony, Pope Francis made the mistake of using the word “cazzo” rather than the more appropriate “caso.” Apparently, this is a mistake that is more common than you would expect.

A minute word choice gaffe would normally be disregarded immediately, but sadly, this mix-up was much more than minute.

The pope dropped the F-bomb in a Vatican blessing. Whoops.

I tell this story not to shame the pope or his secondary language skills, nor to draw more attention to an insignificant accident but, rather, to provide an anecdote.

We are not all perfect. Even the man held as the closest mortal figure to God in the Catholic faith has proven that fact. And that’s all part of being human. That’s why the pope, just like the rest of us, is nothing more than a mortal.

That’s why we all make mistakes.

Now, as we dive headfirst into our last few weeks of the year, and as we rapidly approach the dangerous finish line that is finals week, I think it goes without saying that a few blunders might just be made.

But, what often is lost in our fast-paced, high-stress world is the fact that while our mistakes may change us, we mustn’t allow them to define us.

Instead, we all must walk the fine line between learning and growing with each error and letting said faults rule us.

So, in preparation for the imminent stress to come, don’t forget to give yourself a break and maybe give one to those closest to you as well. After all, you never know who could use it.

And keep in mind, unlike the pope, your mistakes won’t end up on CNN, USA Today or The Onion.

It’s like Chinese proverb states, “Failing is not falling down, but refusing to get up.”

After all, perfection is stagnant. Imperfection is opportunity.

Embrace each failure, embrace each flaw, and don’t ever forget: You’re in holy company.

Maxton Thoman is a sophomore majoring in biology. His column runs weekly.

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