This article hits a little too close to home for me than I’d like to admit; I am what my family and friends would consider a “perfectionist”. Trust me when I say that I have seen (and displayed) the ugly side of being a perfectionist. For example, I have high standards when it comes to matters such as party planning, I get defensive rather easily and I tend to have that “all-or-nothing” way of thinking. As of now, I am working on normalising these traits. It isn’t easy, but bearing some of these thoughts in mind have helped to make the process more streamlined:
Perfection does not equate success
They say that success is not achieved alone. Nearly all the success stories involve people who have contributed through ways and means such as inspiring, encouraging, and mentoring that individual towards their success. Not only would a perfectionist avoid taking risks, they would also avoid asking for and even rejecting help as they want to keep matters in their own hands and under control. As a result, the ardent perfectionist may find their progress hindered and success limited.
Perfectionists aren’t people’s favourites.
I tend to have unrealistic and high expectations when it comes to party planning. When I plan a party for a close friend, I tend to (unrealistically) expect the same level of commitment and effort from my other friends. After realising how unhappy it made them, I decided it was time to lower said expectations. If you are a perfectionist, do keep in mind that it’s a trait which is extremely tough to relate to 99% of the time.
Perfection is not the same as power
To be truly perfect (which is practically impossible) means to stay a couple of steps ahead of any and every situation. When that happens, you may find yourself being constantly worried or paranoid about missing something or making a mistake. Not only are you unable to predict the future, you waste your time and effort in a futile struggle to change this fact of life and in return, you don’t get to enjoy even the simplest moments in life! Does that sound like a person with power to you?
Your self-worth is not measured by how perfect you are
Perfection constantly seeks out flaws and it can prevent us from accepting and embracing our true self. Self-worth and self-love are when we are able to look at our flaws and mistakes and still loving ourselves despite all of it. The pursuit of perfection can sometimes lead to despair as we start to realise how unrealistic it actually is.
Perfection is not normal
Have you seen Barbie and Ken dolls? They may be gorgeous and their features perfect, but they’re far from looking “normal”. Perfection is an idealised concept that was never meant to be taken literally. Know that everyone has their shortcomings and it is that which makes us human. Normalcy may seem exceedingly pedestrian to a perfectionist, but what they fail to comprehend is the beauty that lies with imperfection. I’ve always felt that the idea of having something to improve upon is a defining trait of humanity. When you’re “perfect”, where do you have left to go?
Yes, it is good to have high standards and constantly strive for excellence. It pushes us to reach our goals and maintain good work ethics. However, when we set standards so high that it becomes impossible to meet, it starts to create more problems than it solves. Be realistic in your goals, learn how to compromise, and remember, nobody is (or should be) perfect!