Nobody is perfect. Of course that’s true.

To expect someone to be perfect is to set yourself up for a let-down.

But why do we want people to be perfect?

Are we looking for proof that perfection exists, that it is attainable? Is it so that we can justify trying to be perfect, so that we can see it’s not all about chasing rainbows, that it can actually be done?

We are never going to find a person that is perfect, and we shouldn’t want to.

That would just show that they are not a real person. Real people aren’t perfect.

We shouldn’t expect it. We should be as forgiving of people for their flaws as we’d like them to be of us for ours.

This can be tough when we are trying to select leaders, choose those that we want to have some power over us. It make sense for us to want them to be as perfect as possible – they are going to be in a position of power, they are apart from us, above us in the social structure, so we are justified in asking for them to be more perfect than us.

Right?

When I listen to a politician or a religious leader speak, I hear every single one of them say some things that I think are ok, and some things that are definitely not ok. They hold (and espouse) views and beliefs that I both agree with and disagree with. Is the trick to find someone that has more that I agree with than not?

To do that I have to accept that they are imperfect, that they are never going to be all that I want from them, that they will continue to have failings. It’s a judgement call on whether I think they will have fewer failings that other candidates vying for my support.

I feel the same about my friends. Many of them have beliefs I disagree with, sometimes very strongly indeed, but as long as they have more positive qualities (to me) than negative ones, and as long as their negative ones do not cross what I have decided for myself is ‘the line’, then I accept that we can be friends.

I’m not looking for perfection in others, just an outweighing of what I consider as faults by what I consider to be good qualities.

That may seem a little cold, that kind of analytical thinking about friends, but it stops me wasting my time and energy (and theirs) on relationships that cannot possibly succeed or bring either of us any value.

Cold and calculating? Maybe… but in my acceptance of this process, I realise they must do the same for me.

With political and religious leaders, it has served me well, never letting me forget that to look for perfection is a waste of time. What I have to look for is a tipping of the scales in favour of what I consider to be good values and behaviour over inevitable failings – failings which all people have.