Perfectionism: The Downfall of Many

Sep 6th, 2009 4:56:00pm

Perfectionism -noun: a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.

That definition is open for discussion, in my opinion. For one thing, everyone’s idea of “perfection” is different; it depends upon a person’s taste and sense of what is right and what isn’t. For another, even then, “perfection” is an impossible goal. There is no such thing. It is a word that should not exist in any language, because all it does is drive us towards, and sometimes over, the edge. Anything, and I do mean anything,can be improved upon. No matter how many times I revise this column, for example, there will always be a better way to write it.  If it is not found by me, it will be by someone else.

As we progress in life, people are going to discover new ways to make things better. To improve. Everything has room for improvement, after all. Nothing is truly perfect, for as I said, there is no such thing. It isn’t about being perfect, supreme or superior, it is about whether that object or person is perfect to you. Flaws will always be there. The question is, are you willing to accept them, let them go, and focus more on the good points instead?

We have been forced to believe that perfection is attainable. That if you buy this, or do that, or just change this bit here and that bit there, you can reach that incredibly high standard of “perfect”. I do not only mean your body image, I mean everything. Everyone wants themselves and their work to be perfect. There is nothing wrong with that, because it means you will work hard to better yourself, which is always a good thing. No, my point here is you have to know when enough is enough. “…rejects anything less” says the definition up there. You can’t do that. You shouldn’t do that. Otherwise, you’re going to be rejecting pretty much all that comes your way, all that you do will never be good enough, all that anyone does will never be good enough.

When you strive hard to make each little thing perfect, you’re missing out. You will never be truly satisfied with anything. You’re just stressing yourself out, and in your pursuit of that ever-elusive “perfection”, you’re losing sight of what you really should be doing: just performing the best you can and leaving it at that. I admit, even I have fallen victim to the quest. All I have met with is frustration, anger, and then apathy until all I want is to get it done, no longer caring how good I’d wanted it be, nor how bad it may become. Realise now, people, that struggling for something that doesn’t exist is a waste of your time and energy. Get off that treadmill, because no matter how much you run, you won’t be going anywhere.

In the end, I reiterate what I previously said, “It isn’t about being perfect, supreme, or superior, it is about whether that object or person is perfect to you.” You should have standards, yes, but accept the fact that flaws are a part of everything that comes along. They’re always going to be there. Be the best you can be, do the best you can do, and that’s perfect enough.

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