I’ve written before about how we should accept people as they are and quit dating folks with the idea of remaking them into the image of what we think we want. Today I’d like to write about an idea tangential (if not flipside) to that: the quest of perfection.

We all want to be accepted for who we are, find that person who accepts us, and allows us to be real. Authentic. The fact of the matter is that sometimes who you are is an idiot. Seriously. Just this side of brain damaged. So socially inept, it’s a wonder you can function in civilized society. I’m not throwing stones: I’ve embraced the reality that I’m not perfect (I’ve even gone so far as to embrace the fact that my imperfection can only further my wife’s holiness as she learns to love me anyway).

To recap, we have the need to accept people balanced against the need to face the reality that you aren’t perfect so there are some things you have to change or areas you need to grow in. The other tension in this equation, and the actual topic I wanted to write about, are those who endlessly chase perfect acceptance.

“The best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.” – Juno

Even discounting the blinders that come with falling for someone, I encounter all sort of folks for whom my natural reaction is “I can accept you as you are. I just wish you weren’t so … ‘you’ some of the time.” There are folks who want the former without the latter. Somehow they have it twisted in their head that a good relationship means in order for their relationship to work, they need to be accepted just as they are, with no expectations for change. Or growth.

They define acceptance as a full embrace of who you are and what you do when reality says that I may begrudgingly put up with you and wish parts of you would change. There is a big difference between accepted and being put up with, and sometime that difference is the measure of reality. I wonder if part of their misconception lies in the belief that if they aren’t perfectly accepted, they are merely being put up with. Tolerated.

Now, what I call putting up with, since I know the torments I regularly put my wife through, I see as part of the reality of the accommodation of relationships. Unless you manage to find Mr./Ms. Perfect you will continue to be frustrated unless you realize that perfect acceptance, perfection period, doesn’t exist. If you are like a child who only wants constant affirmation (“Everything you do is wonderful”) or else you think something is wrong in the relationship, or if you think the blinders that come when two people first start dating (“Everything you do is wonderful”) are meant to last the entire length of your relationship, then you have some issues you need to work out.

Probably starting with accepting yourself. You have quirks. Because the unreality of romance and faultlessness eventually wears off and people will recognize your act and who you are. The real and authentic you. “You have some aspects to you I flat out don’t like. I love you anyway.” That is the kind of acceptance we should want. A quest for anything else will leave you in constant quest, moving from relationship to ultimately dissatisfying relationship. You may have to face the fact that you have areas that you need to work on (and, in fact, you running from relationship to relationship is simply you avoiding dealing with your issues).

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