Imperfection and Compassion

The path to compassion begins by accepting that perfection is fantasy.

Perfection is simply something that we imagine, an unattainable ideal that we project onto ourselves and others. Perfection is a false idea and a false ideal. It is our belief in perfection, for ourselves and others that sets us up to be disappointed when it is not achieved.

If we ever hope to be compassionate with ourselves or others, we cannot start with a falsehood as our foundational premise. False ideas set up false expectations and expectations, inevitably unmet, lead to frustration, sorrow, and even anger. A life of compassion must begin with what is real and what is true.

We may not like it, but imperfection is the truth. Everyone, including ourselves, will always fall short of our expectations. Once we admit this to ourselves, once we embrace our flawed natures, once we have accepted that none of us will ever do everything right, we can look at ourselves and others through a lens of compassion.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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