Please note that this is a follow-up to another post. If you haven’t read The disease called “Perfection”, please do that first. It will change you. Then, please read this post in its entirety, because I need your help.

I have written thousands upon thousands of words over the course of multiple drafts for this follow-up. None of them felt right. None of them felt honest. None of them felt adequate. I threw them all out.

If I’m being completely honest, I failed. I failed to find a way to respond to the now more than 800 comments, many of which have left me weeping and hurting in ways I never thought I could. I have failed at figuring out how to write a single, healing response to all of it. I have been trying to figure out what the cure for “Perfection” really is, and then say it in 2,000 words or less.

But, in the end, I realized that I am incapable. I realize that we are all incapable. I lack the ability to be anything more than a cheerleader to most of you. In most cases, I have never experienced what you have experienced, and therefore lack the ability to empathize with you in the way that your responses deserve.

This week has overwhelmed me. It has been heavy. It has been intense. It has been wonderful. It has rocked my very core and even my belief system. The words you’ve submitted have changed me, infinitely, for the better.

Here are the numbers for the first week of the post:

Page views: more than 250,000
Facebook share count: more than 11,000
Twitter posts: more than 380
Comments: more than 800
Personal emails to me: more than 300
Blog mentions: more than 950

I do not share these numbers to boast the popularity of my work. I share these numbers to help you understand the importance of the message. The need for the message. The desperation for the message.

The message telling us all to be “Real”.

What I didn’t discuss in the original post is that being “Real” in everyday life is something much easier said than done. Being “real” is a great notion, but there is a reason why “Perfection” has our entire society in a choke-hold. If you peel away all of the layers of what the disease called “Perfection” is, you’ll find a simple, but very rooted fear.

The fear of rejection.

The fear of rejection is everywhere, inside each one of us. And until we can get rid of this fear, we can never actually be “real”.

And, the only way to get rid of the fear, is to heal from our hurt.

And the only way to heal from our hurt is to find a way to let go of it. Which, as we all know, is easier said than done.

And all of this, is a pathetic attempt to explain why I can’t, and nobody ever will, write one post, or one book, or one anything that can heal everybody. I can’t. And neither can you.

But we can.

If we work together.

We can work together to carry our fallen comrades to safety. We can work together to eradicate the disease. We can work together to present an antidote for those that are dying from “Perfection’s” poisonous sting.

In the medical world, there are different types of doctors for just about everything. They each have their specialty so that we each receive the best care for the specific condition with which we are dealing. You would not ask an Otolaryngologist to help you with a painful bunion. You would ask a Podiatrist. You would not ask an Optometrist to deliver your new baby. You would ask an Obstitritian. You would not seek help from a Proctologist for a mental disorder. You would visit a Psychiatrist. Well, maybe you would if the problem was simply a stick that needed to be removed, but I think you get the point, and can draw the parallels in regards to this discussion.

When dealing with the disease “Perfection”, every one of us is infected to some degree. We are all in need of medical attention. Much more importantly, though, we are all, every one of us, healers. We are all doctors. Each of us has the power to help and heal some of the hurting people in this world. And today I’m calling on you to do just that.

I cannot respond to each of the hundreds and hundreds of comments on the “Perfection” post with an understanding shoulder to cry on. Nobody can. Not properly. But we can each reply to somebody. This is not a job for a general practitioner. This is a job for you, a specialist.

I cannot empathize with a woman who has been raped or molested. But you might be able to.

I cannot pretend to know what it feels like to be disowned by your family because of your beliefs. But you might be able to.

I cannot put my arm around a girl who defines herself with an eating disorder and tell her, “I know what you’re going through”. But you might be able to.

Each and every one of you have been through some extremely heavy things in your life. That is life. Not one of us shares an identical set of burdens with another. Today, that is to our ultimate benefit. We are all unique, and right now we need our uniqueness more than ever.

Come. Be a doctor with me today. There are some people to which I can respond. There are some people to which you need to respond.

What is the cure?

Be “Real”.

The more I realize the world-wide effort it will take to effectively and genuinely respond to the “Perfection” post, the more I see the healing value in an expansive collection of “Real” posts from each of you. Perhaps, if the response is appropriate, we can put these in book form and take a crack at spreading “Real” to millions. A project like this has the potential to truly change the “Perfection” problem. I need what you can give me today. You need what others can give you today. The world needs what we each can give today.

For the first time in my life, I see how a relatively small group of people actually can change the world for the better. I can’t do it on my own. Will you join me?

Let’s be real together. Let’s change lives. Let’s help people heal.

When I originally wrote The disease called “Perfection”, I was hoping my words would be strong enough to make their way to a few thousand people. One week later, the number of people that have read it could fill Yankee stadium 4 1/2 times.

Think about that for a moment. Then, let’s be real together. It’s not just a handful of people we’re talking about. It’s the world. I present to you:

The “Perfection” Project

Write a comment on this post and share three things (make it as long as you need, but as brief as possible.) If you’re having trouble posting, email it to me and I’ll post it for you. My email is at the top of the page.

First, share with us the biggest struggle, mistake, or trial you’ve ever survived. Share why it was so hard for you. Don’t sugar coat it. Be real. Be as real as you can possibly be about it.

Second, write a short message to the “you then”. If the “you now” could send a message to the “you then”, what would you tell yourself? Somewhere here among us, there is a broken soul; a trampled spirit; a lost individual, trying to survive the very thing you’ve already been through; a beautiful person who desperately wants to receive your message; a beautiful person who desperately needs to receive your message.

Third, tell us what the “Perfection” article has done for you in your life and to your way of thinking. Your perspective on it will hit others in a way that my writing never could.

It is okay if you post anonymously; just post.

I encourage each of you to search within yourselves today for the words that will help heal another. Please do not mention specific religions. If God was your answer, that’s great. Tell us your experience. If something else was your answer, that’s great. Tell us your experience. There are no wrong answers here, except for the ones that are never written. This is not a contest. Be real, and your words will carry themselves. If you say only the things you think people want to hear, nobody will hear you at all.

And please, share this post on Facebook, twitter, and your blog (in addition to sharing the first one). There are so many people around you who need what they will read in your reply. Sharing it is so crucial to its ability to work. It’s not really the post itself that people need to see. It’s the participation below that will heal people. You never know. It may even heal you. Let’s see if we can get 1,000 people doing their part to heal the world.

This, along with the original article, will heal hundreds of thousands. Maybe millions. And all because you took half an hour to lay it out there for somebody else. All because you helped spread “Real” just a little bit further. I believe. Do you?

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing Ready for Change

PS, I understand that doing this will take some time out of your day. Thank you. I know how valuable your time is. If I do put it in book form, I’ll list each of your names in the “thanks to” section, because your words are the ones that will change people and you deserve credit.

Just as a heads-up, Internet Explorer really limits the length of your comment. I suggest using Firefox which let’s you post a much longer one, or email it to me and I’ll post it all in one for you. If you don’t, it’s fine, but you may have to spread your reply over several comments. Some people have also had luck signing-up for Intense Debate.