For those unfamiliar with the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they believe that god will soon unleash his wrath at Armageddon and kill everyone who is not part of their religion. After that, according to their beliefs, the earth will eventually become a paradise while those Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with anyone god sees fit to resurrect from the dead, will then be granted eternal life.
As part of this teaching, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that those humans will eventually grow to perfection:
‘Revelation 21:4: “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” That will mean life without end in perfection on a paradise earth! That is what our loving Creator, Jehovah God, has promised.’ (No. 2 Watchtower 2018, pp. 10-11)
This fantasy of a perfect eternal life stunts Jehovah’s Witnesses in many ways, one of which is creating an overwhelming desire for perfectionism, a concept that is both unhealthy and nonexistent.
An Earthly “Paradise”?
Some years back, I was going through a difficult time in accepting the negative side of a friend’s personality (for the record, nothing toxic or abusive). When I was at my lowest point, my ancestors came and gave me a vision.
Wait, did this chick just say that she talks to her ancestors and has visions?
Yes I did. I also tend to drink on an empty stomach, so feel free to rack up this experience to a combination of low blood sugar and cheap beer.
Anyway, the ancestors showed me all the beautiful things of this earth. Beaches, sunsets, forests, mountains, fields of flowers, tall grasses. It was almost too much to take in at one time, all those breathtaking sights.
They allowed me a moment to absorb what I was seeing, and they then asked if I thought our Great Mother the earth was beautiful. Was she perfect?
Of course, I thought to myself. There is no manmade structure, no painting or sculpture that can match her unrivaled beauty. Her perfection.
The ancestors then showed me another vision, of all the things of the earth that I consider ugly. The bugs, the lizards, the snakes, a desert, an overgrown jungle.
The ancestors allowed me to see those ugly things for several moments, and then asked the question I needed to hear:
Who are we to question the balance of our Great Mother?
All of those things are part of our earth, they reminded me. I personally think they are ugly, but they are natural, they are part of our Great Mother.
The ancestors, in all their wisdom, gave me the answer I needed. Our Great Mother has darkness, things I consider ugly and undesirable and which I don’t want near me but which are hers, part of her balance. Who am I to question that balance, that so-called darkness in our Great Mother? Who am I to question the darkness of someone else’s life?
Who am I to question the darkness in my own life?
What Is “Perfection”?
Consider the concept of perfectionism, the idea that you need to always look, act, or just be a particular way and, if not, you’re ugly, a failure, worthless as a whole. Anything less than living up to that ideal in every aspect of your life is unacceptable and shameful.
Not only does this thinking create untold amounts of damaging stress but the entire concept of “perfect” is also a myth, as our Great Mother has shown. How so?
Perhaps you think that physical perfection means a certain appearance, certain details to your features. It’s true that some features might seem more attractive, but who in all of history has looked absolutely “perfect” in every area of their body? A beautiful actress with a gorgeous face and figure might have odd-looking hands, or a good-looking actor might still need a stylist to cover his receding hairline.
Our Great Mother has provided that lesson for us. She is amazing, breathtaking in so many ways, but many areas of this earth are what we might consider downright ugly. Perfection in every area simply doesn’t exist with her, and it’s not up to us to question those aspects that are less than perfect. Why, then, do we expect to be perfect ourselves in all areas of our life?
Of course, there is nothing wrong with setting high standards for secular work, how you keep your home and manage your finances, for having self-control in your reaction to everyday life, and so on. A clean house and balanced checkbook often mean less stress for everyone.
That being said, do you beat yourself up every time there’s something out of place in the house? Look at our Great Mother; her ground is littered with twigs, seeds, and dead insects. Forests are spotted with dead and decaying trees. Fires, wind, and insects help to clean house and take those things away, but she is always covered in debris. Always.
Do you feel less than perfect when you’re sad, angry, agitated? Unchecked anger is unhealthy and toxic, yes, and extreme sadness that takes away from your quality of life might indicate an emotional imbalance that needs professional intervention.
However, what about everyday mood swings, or a depth of emotion that you think is somehow shameful? Do you think your temperament should be even, upbeat, and positive at all times? Our Great Mother rages in storms, weeps with rain, rumbles and quakes under our feet, and rests in the darkness. She offers no apologies for her temperamental nature, nor should she. Nor should you.
Sure, we all have a wish list of features we’d like to change about ourselves, and we all could use some work in many areas of life. If you know there’s something about you that needs changing and improving, by all means, make changes.
As for perfectionism, however, I have no explanation as to why we’re all “imperfect” in certain ways. I can’t explain why an otherwise beautiful person will have some unattractive features, or why we can’t always keep a clean house and balanced checkbook.
What I do know is that our Great Mother has many features we might call “imperfect.” If something as beautiful as our earth can be “imperfect,” then perhaps it’s not those features that need to change; perhaps it’s our perception of those features. Perhaps perfection is found in that balance of what we like and don’t like, what we find beautiful and what we wish was different somehow.
I try very hard to remind myself of this whenever I start to think something negative about my physical appearance, my routine, my temperament. I work hard every day to improve but know that I will never be “perfect,” if for no other reason that the concept itself is a myth. It’s unattainable, so why beat myself up because I can’t reach the top of a fictional mountain?
I’m sure my visit from the ancestors was nothing more than too much light beer and not enough protein but I am reminded of an old Scandinavian proverb, “In children and drunkenness, there is truth.” Whatever the reason for me to focus so keenly on our planet, on our Great Mother, the clarification was exactly what I needed. Who am I to question the balance of our Great Mother, or that same balance in myself?
Who are you to question your own balance?
Stop chasing this so-called “perfection.” You’re a child of our Great Mother, beautiful, balanced, and perfectly imperfect. I wouldn’t have it any other way and neither should you.