First, Tom Daley was the “Sexiest Man Alive”, now Cristiano Ronaldo is “the Fittest Man Alive”. I don’t know who exactly is doing this voting, but they seem to be forgetting to add an important suffix to their titles: “… in the entertainment industry this month”. Validity of their honours aside, Cristiano Ronaldo does, indeed, have a very fit body, and it is on display in all its shirtless glory on the September issue of Men’s Health.
The article is actually less an analysis of Ronaldo’s fitness, and more a flowery ode to his mannerisms and stardom. However, it also focuses heavily on Ronaldo’s unending quest to attain perfection, not just physically, but on the field, and it is an interesting reveal of his personality. It is absolutely no secret that Ronaldo is often regarded and criticised as being arrogant and excessive. However, perhaps his theatrics and apparent aloofness aren’t so much the result of arrogance, as they are that of a grim determination to always be better.
Let me explain why this resonated with me, and why I therefore chose to write about it. I hate the word “perfectionism”, but that may very well be because I’ve been accused of this for as long as I can remember. However, if I’m being totally honest with myself, I will admit to it. While I don’t like the concept of “perfectionism”, I’m fascinated by the idea of “perfection”, and I’ve always strived for it in everything that I do.
Here’s the downside, though: perfection doesn’t exist. Perfection is an image that we construct in our own minds in an attempt to balance out all the negative incidents that surround us on a daily basis. So, if perfection is only a feature that we imagine, it must stand to reason that it is one that we can never actually achieve. This is one of the most important realisations to which any one person must come.
The pursuit of perfection, while lofty and idealised, very often leads to the most awful of outcomes. Because it is something that will never materialise, the futile search for it results in horrible blows to one’s self-esteem, feelings of failure and unaccomplishment, stress, anxiety, and actual physical ailments. When it comes to this last one, I am walking proof. Yet, when this is observed logically, we have to ask, why would we subject ourselves to such torture for something that is, for all intents and purposes, an unattainable fantasy?
Our culture has an almost unwavering obsession with the idea of perfection, but it serves no one but the corporations who rake in millions of dollars from its commercial appeal. We need to stop trying to be or appear perfect! Instead, I think that we should aim for constant self-improvement, with the understanding that we will always have our limits – a glass ceiling, if you will – and that’s okay. It’s okay that we won’t break that personal record… it’s amazing enough that we have one. It’s okay that we can’t lose that final five pounds… we’re fortunate enough to have the functioning motor skills that enable us to work out to begin with. I know that we’ve been conditioned to always want to be perfect, but it’s time that we recondition ourselves to accept that flaws aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Heck, if we were meant to be perfect, we’d be robots… and, really, with the continuous advancing of technology, even robots are being constantly improved. Where’s the perfection in that?
Take it from me, my dear readers, a self-confessed perfectionist. Perfection doesn’t exist, and the constant search for it just makes life more difficult than it needs to be. Improve what can be improved, but accept and appreciate what cannot. Your mental well-being will thank you for it.
The September issue of Men’s Health hits stands on Aug 5th, but digital copies will be available from next Tuesday.