If you look for perfection, you’ll never be content.
Perfection truly is the enemy of the good. It is the mother of all excuses; most, if not all excuses descend from it. It is insidious, harmful, and can even be deadly to contentment and happiness. Therefore, it is important that while we strive to be good, honorable, and fierce gentlemen, that we do not go too far. There is an abyss, and it does stare back–and that abyss is Perfection.
Tolstoy was absolutely right. If you look for perfection, you will never be truly content. Instead, you will end up miserable. How do I know this? Because I used to be that way. I wanted to be perfect and good at anything, and eventually I broke down. I’d beat myself up for every little (and big) mistake I made. Sometimes I wouldn’t even go to confession, because, well, if I can’t forgive my self, why should God?
That philosophy is bad. It is poisonous to you, and to those around you. God isn’t you. God is above and beyond and outside you. You don’t have to be “perfect enough” or “good enough” to be loved by God. The fact of the matter is God loves you, regardless. Other people also will love and cherish you, reguardless.
Being a gentleman is of a similar caliber. You don’t have to be a perfect gentleman, but you just need to strive to be a better person. It’s unlikely that you’ll end up winning the Nobel Prize in everything, but as long as you’re holding the door open for whoever is behind you, you’re well on your way.
The biggest thing about being a gentleman is that you are conscious of other people’s thoughts, and feelings, and conscientious about how you treat others. Don’t let the idea of being a perfect gentleman eat at you, and keep you from that goal when you can’t achieve that perfection. Remember, Perfection is for God and Platonic philosophy, and you are neither Plato, nor God.
I suppose I should note that the pursuit for the “perfect woman” is flawed, too. Every woman I’ve ever loved, I ended up loving more for their flaws than for their supposed “perfection.” Perfection, also, is boring, I think in this case. Instead, seek someone that is a wonderful companion, someone that will work with you on your journey thorugh life, rather than a woman who belongs on a pedestal.
Avoid the evils of trying to be perfect; you will only end up supremely fustrated, and wish to abandon the project. Trust me on this. I’ve faced that monster many times, and only barely survived. And you will continuously struggle with it too. It is a worthy struggle. Instead, remember Salvador Dali’s words on the subject, and use them to tear apart the darkness:
Have no fear of perfection- you’ll never reach it.