Perfectionism, as a personality disposition, is characterized by aiming for flawlessness. It’s one thing striving to be your best and another trying to be perfect. Research has found that those armed with a mission of daily perfection can suffer greatly, be it from depression, anxiety, or body image dissatisfaction. Perfection is an age-old myth that creates more pain than joy, more confusion than calm, more angst than creative productivity.
Perfectionism is a growing epidemic. Studies among North American teens show that three in ten exhibit some sort of unhealthy perfectionism. It is also life-endangering—those with higher scores on perfectionism are more likely to die younger. I, too, struggled with it in the beginning. And I’m still trying to cope up with it.
In fact, perfection is just a superficial thing that cannot really exist in our human world. I mean think about it. Have you heard the phrase “We’re all humans”. That phrase itself presents the idea that as humans we’re meant to make mistakes. It’s natural to us and a part of our experience here. You cannot deny that. Perfection is a terribly misplaced goal and most often compensation for what really troubles us.
What Are You Dreading?
You need to stop letting this ‘fear of perfectionism’ get in your way of achieving your goals. Yes, I said fear because your perfectionism is really just an excuse for your insecurities. Maybe you’re afraid of people’s judgements, maybe you’re dreading rejection, maybe you’re scared of failing at that one thing. And because of these fears you keep putting off your dreams and work , believing that you’re a perfectionist, while no such thing exists.
Suppose, you are a painter by hobby and you’ve made lots of painting. But you don’t put it out in the world thinking that they’re not perfect yet. Can they ever get to those perfect standards sitting in the room? No. You need to put them on a display and learn from each experience and improve for the next time. This is how you grow, by progress not by perfection. And in reality the reason behind this excuse of ‘not being perfect’ are your insecurities. Maybe you’re afraid of what the people will say? How your friends will judge you? What if your mom tells you that you’re wasting your time or what if nobody buys them? These thoughts are holding you back, not your perfectionism.
Perfection Is Flawed
Being perfect, ironically, comes with it’s own flaws. Expecting yourself to be perfect is, in fact, superfluous in many ways.
1. Perfection isn’t attainable
Perfection leaves little room for error and joy and while life can sometimes be messy, it’s during these times where we learn and grow (and have some adventure along the way). A study was done that said that when someone think something is done they’re about 95% there and when someone thinks its perfect they’re 98% done. The difference is only 3%. Imagine, you are putting all your work away for only a 3%.
2. Perfection isn’t authentic.
As I mentioned earlier, ‘We are humans’. We are made to be imperfect. And enjoy this human experience embracing these imperfections. To look perfect, we have to wear a mask.
3. Perfection is stagnation.
Being perfect means no scope of improvement. For example, you are waiting for your dancing to be perfect like pros to release your first dance cover, and hence have been delaying it for a while. Now, how can you expect to grow from it, if your first piece is perfect in itself? What’s the point then? Being perfect means you cant grow anymore.
Progress Not Perfection
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for keeping high standards for yourself.
Do your hardest to be at the top of your game, improve every joke you can until the last possible second, then let it go. Don’t overthink it. It will never be perfect. Perfection is overrated.—Tina Fey
Always keep high standards. Give your 100% in everything that you do. And once its done, just let it go. Don’t use perfectionism as a reason not to start or a reason not to finish. Perfectionism is a standard that you are holding yourself to, that you are not actually at yet. If you don’t push yourself to at least finish, you’ll never really reach that standard. Your progress will help you achieve your standards, your progress will make you set new standards and your progress will make others set your achievements as their standards.
Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes
Humans have a tendency to focus on the bad. You don’t realise that it’s okay to mess up. How you respond to the mess up, matters. Instead of focusing on the progress that you’re making each day, you criticize yourself for the mistakes that we make once in a while. Take example of your diet. You stayed on proper diet for the entire week but gave in to a chocolate on the eight day. This will make you go in a downward spiral and maybe even get you so discouraged, that you stop following the diet altogether. Instead, you should focus on progress you made for a week. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it, learn from it and keep going.
When you make mistakes, make adjustment. Don’t judge yourself in your weak moments. It’s all about getting 1% better everyday. That’s all it takes and you’ll eventually start to see the improvements in 7-8 months. But not unless you get out there. You cannot keep on waiting in your drawing room with ‘your paintings’ thinking they’ll be perfect one day, or waiting for the perfect time. That’s never going to happen.
How to Deal With It?
1) Be Self Aware
So, the next time you put some thing off because it’s not perfect yet. I want you to ask this to yourself “What are you afraid of?” “What are you insecure about?” Believe me, we all have these thoughts. Everyone deals with it at some point. But don’t let these insecurities become a hindrance. Chances are you’re making them worse in your head than they actually are in real life.
Note: To learn more about developing Self Awareness, click here.
2) Focus on Progress, Not Perfection
Set high standards, give it your hundred percent and then let go. You’ll always keep on improving as you go on (at least, that’s how it should be). So, don’t worry too much about being perfect. After all, you learn some things through practical experiences only and that’s how you grow.
In The End..
These are the two things I’d like you to take from this blog: to be aware of your insecurities and work on them and to focus on progress not perfection. It is unachievable, unimaginable, and frankly undesirable, so why pursue it? Remember,
The best teachers are still learning, the best healers are still healing, every single person is on a path.
Make sure to comment below which part you liked the most.
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