We don’t need to be perfect. The artist Salvador Dali famously said, Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.
I was recently asked to offer specialized commentary on an online publication’s feature on “Bad girls” in society, in this case, women who behave “badly” to snare a man. But as part of the research I was asked whether I thought all women behave badly – and asked how in my opinion a “lady” should behave?
My first thought was that all people, men and women, contain both good and bad, the light and the shade within them, and for any of us to kid ourselves that we are perfect and incapable of bad behavior is totally delusional. On the other side of the spectrum, how many of us don’t sit with a relentless inner critic chirping on our shoulder, judging every move we make as being inadequate or defective, lashing us for not being good enough. We need to put that critic in its place and cut ourselves some slack!
Because Dali also said, Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that it will be possible for you to sublimate them.
So we all mess up from time to time, and according to Dali’s wisdom, for us to become better human beings, we need to understand and embrace our mistakes and to learn from them so next time we can do things differently.
But what of people who deliberately choose destructive patterns of behavior?
Once again, we need to throw out judgment and instead bring in our understanding. What is driving the impulse to self-destruct? Usually if you peel away the layers, you will find it is some kind of fear, which the negative behavior is numbing. By being courageous and reflecting on the question, What is it I’m afraid of? and owning it, real solutions can be found instead of the soothing, sedating but ultimately damaging option of bad behavior.
So how should a lady (or a gentleman for that matter) behave?
I believe she should try her best, but accept her mistakes, and try to understand and learn from them. A lady is courageous: she doesn’t run away from her fears -but faces them. She then puts her energy into finding real solutions that empower her to be the strong and beautiful woman that is her potential.