The Poison of Perfection
by Caroline Scheinfeld
Why do we feel this magnetic pull to be PERFECT? Do we set our own standards and expectations or do they stem from societal pressures to have “it all?” We need to understand and value that as human beings, we are all flawed, imperfect and unique. Therefore, the definition of perfect— entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings is a fallacy. Perfect should solely exist to describe geometric shapes like an equilateral triangle but to use it as an adjective to describe human beings sets up not only for disappointment but also for failure.
In order to embrace our imperfections, we must see ourselves as worthy and embrace what Brene Brown calls “The Gifts of Imperfection.” In her book, she says those gifts are “courage, compassion and connection” (7). It takes courage to compassionately share honest stories about our journeys and it takes to courage to practice compassion towards us. The most valuable asset of embracing the gifts of imperfections is connecting and sharing “‘I’ve Been There,’” which “fuel our worthiness” (7)
The Strength of Weak Ties –
In search of leading meaningful lives we often rely on a close knit circle of close friends and family and alienate the power of newer acquaintances. Author of The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now, Dr. Meg Jay explains the significance of those outside our clique, which she refers to as weak ties. Our urban tribe is composed of intimate relationships with friends and family, typically similar people due to the principle of homophily—love of the same. While we often reach out and expect great support from our urban tribe we often miss the strength of weak ties, those newer acquaintances.
According to Dr. Jay, “Weak ties gives us access to something fresh. They know things and people that we don’t know. Information and opportunity spread farther and faster through weak ties than through close friends because weak ties have fewer overlapping contacts” (21).
With our urban tribe we often assume they understand us and use weaker communication tactics to converse with them. When in conversation with weak ties we have to rely on “elaborated speech,” the concept of being more thorough and we refrain from assuming the person we are talking to knows more than what we are actually saying… person we are talking to understands the subject in discussion.
This past May, 3WCircle launched it’s first #3WCircleChat where a curated group of unfamiliar women came together to discuss issues in their personal and professional lives. Although the women were on the outskirts of their urban tribes’ it appeared they educated and inspired each other. Due to the “weak tie,” nature of the group, women not only relied on elaborate speech but also found tremendous added value in perspectives. Dr. Jay claims, ”Weak ties promote, and sometimes even force, thoughtful growth and change,” which is a core value proposition to 3WCircle (Jay, 22).
Our kickoff/first event was truly exhilarating not just for the 20 women who sat in a circle at ClosetDash’s headquarters but also for me. Seeing the power of women walking into a room not knowing each other’s names, occupations or backgrounds transitioned into women leaving the chat feeling stimulated/impacted and empowered was truly remarkable.
In order to truly figure out what we want as women, we have to rely on more than just our urban tribe but step out of our comfort zone and engage in networks like 3WCircle. Our first #3WCircleChat spotlighted 2 inspiring women, Jessica Brondo (Admitted.ly) and Jennifer Lee (ClosetDash) who shared their tools and experiences to find happiness. Some of the highlights include writing what you love and what you hate. When your strongest opinions and desires are depicted on paper there is no turning back. You are forced to come to grips with issues and motivated to shape your life to reflect your “love” list. Each attendee left with an assignment —to fill out a double-sided card–both with space for 5 answers–”What Are You?” and “What Do You Want to Be.” Hopefully, completing the assignment helped all the women make sure they are on their happiness tract.
Other valuable advice was the method of relying on “personal happiness check-ins,” rather than inflexible timeline goals. For example, if you were unable to follow your “married by 28″ rule but you are in a loving committed relationship and beyond happy…then you are on your happiness path. Lastly, we discussed the importance of defining your version of having it all. No one should try to have what society’s definition of “having it all” is but rather what makes your individual life feel complete.
The formation process of 3WCircle was only possible due to the “strength of weak ties.”