03/18/2013 07:07 pm ET Updated May 18, 2013

Perfection Is Overrated -- Be Happy Instead

When I was a younger, I wanted the perfect nose -- one of those small, indistinctive noses that blend into the background of the model's face on a magazine cover. My Italian genetics, however, gave me another type of nose: a little long, a little bumpy, not terribly unpleasant, but definitely ethnic. I've thought about changing it many times, particularly when I started appearing on TV. (We all know the camera adds five pounds, and noses are no exception.) I've resisted the temptation partly because my nose is an integral part of who I am that I don't want to lose, and partly because there's a rebel inside of me who hates to conform to what society says is perfect.

Women in particular seem to be conditioned to spend their entire lives chasing someone else's definition of perfection. The perfect face without wrinkles or prominent features. A body without one dimple of cellulite! Have you ever met any woman without cellulite? The perfect entertaining skills, where you gather the twigs and leaves you'll be gluing together for the table centerpiece prior to preparing a dinner from scratch for twelve. Doesn't everyone own a glue gun? The perfect partner who treats you like a queen, loves your mother and never leaves his dirty socks on the floor. This may all be possible if you were living in a 1950s sitcom, but none of it resembles real life -- not even in the 1950's!

Think of perfection as the carrot on the end of a stick mounted to your head. You keep thinking you can grab it if you run hard enough, and sometimes you can get a little taste of it, but it's never enough. You want the whole thing, and even if you get that, right around the corner is another carrot waiting to be chased. You'll grow old and angry chasing perfection. Wouldn't you rather spend time playing with your kids instead of mopping the kitchen floor? Wouldn't you rather look unique instead of like a mannequin? Wouldn't you rather be happy instead of perfect? I know I would, because when you're happy, everything is perfect -- even a long nose.

Here are five ways to stop chasing perfection:
• Redefine reality from what you see in the media to what you see around you in real life.
• Love your unique traits; they make you interesting to others.
• Enjoy and be grateful for everything you are and everything you have, every day.
• If you're doing something for someone else's approval, let it go.
• Adjust expectations of yourself and others based on each person's individual abilities and needs.

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