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Perfect your humanity

| Thursday, March 6, 2014

Perfection.

I’m sure many of us know well the pressures that come with the desire to be perfect. Perhaps you may have crafted an unblemished GPA, sculpted an impeccable six-pack of abs or managed a flawless attendance for syllabus week shenanigans. In whatever capacity, perfection is something we all know, love and hate. In fact, if we are not careful, it can become consuming and all too easy to lose ourselves in this desire for perfection.

I must admit, I am not immune to desires for perfection. Case in point: With spring break around the corner, I’d love that perfect beach body. For better or worse, this drive to tone those areas that winter sweaters so conveniently smooth over has manifested itself in a healthy resurgence of a favorite pastime, hot yoga.

While I knew going into class that the benefits of yoga are both physical and meditative, I usually spent those quiet times racing through that day’s to-do list in my mind.

The other day something the yoga instructor said caught my attention. She began class with the meditation: “Life is short. Never miss an opportunity to perfect your own humanity. Love is simple.”

Perfecting our own humanity — I had never quite heard of perfection mentioned in this way but it struck a chord.

As I put the pause button on those to-do lists running through my head, I started to really think about what that phrase meant. Humanity allows for failings and bumps along the way — we are only human after all. Not only that, but it also recognizes the most basic of human virtues, virtues like truth, love, justice and an overall determination to promote individual as well as collective greatness.

After class I asked the instructor where she had found the saying. She directed me to a blog that highlights a comment made about a YouTube video that has recently gone viral. The video was made to raise awareness for SOS Children’s Village in Syria, an organization asking for donations of winter clothes for children in need. In true hidden-camera style, they document people’s reaction as they pass a child without a jacket on a cold winters day. The reactions are beautiful. While I have no connection with the organization or its success, I encourage those interested to check it out both the blog and the quote at www.lifebuzz.com/freezing-boy (Don’t forget to turn on the English subtitles.)

While desiring to be perfect at anything often leads to an unhealthy obsession, never missing an opportunity to perfect our humanity offers a new perspective — a perspective which might just be a perfect middle ground.

The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Emily Hoffmann

Emily Hoffmann is a Graphic Designer for The Observer.

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