Is Perfectionism Killing You?
Is Perfectionism Killing You?
Living up to your potential and the desire for perfection is admirable and based on the basic human need to survive and thrive. It’s the perpetual pursuit to better oneself and one’s environment. Yet in this day and age, we need to do things better and faster, make things bigger and taller.
However, while having everything done seamlessly may seem like how every successful person lives and works, it may, in fact, be the reason behind some of the severe chronic diseases, like heart disease, high blood pressure, and irritable bowel syndrome. Perfectionism could very well be the pandemic of the century.
Perfectionists follow a silent rule of “conditional self-worth.” In other words, they don’t feel good about themselves unless they achieve certain feats, which they set out for themselves, and they have to be carried out to the highest of standards. This may come as a surprise to many who see perfectionists as confident and poised, if truth be told, they’re actually extremely self-doubting, as well as critical and insecure of their worth.
Those struggling with perfectionism are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, and may ultimately lead to suicide, according to a study by the Review of General Psychology. The study’s main author, Gordon Flett, PhD, says, “The average person has very little understanding or awareness of how destructive perfectionism can be.”
All that stress has to have major side effects on the physical and mental health. It puts a major strain on our bodies, so much so that it leads to a crippling fear of failure and unexplained bouts of fatigue. This is or the most part because perfectionists usually feel that they don’t have time to take care of themselves because they’d be selfish. Women are at a greater of this since they pour all their energy into taking care of other people that, eventually, their body just gives up. It becomes so exhausted and can’t keep up without the care and maintenance required for a healthy, well-developing lifestyle.
Being a perfectionist means seeing every situation in two colours only, black and white. In other words, it’s either a success or a downright failure that shouldn’t be attempted ever again. They almost always miss out on beautiful moments and valuable experience because when one idea doesn’t work out, instead of filtering out the mishaps and trying once more with fresh eyes, they simply give up for fear of failing.
Failure is kryptonite for perfectionists.
But all that is needed is a simple mind shift. That is, instead of seeing it as failure, simply alter your expectations and make them more realistic according to your needs and no one else’s. Nowadays, with our expectations being so high, the risks are also monumental which makes us frantic to control everything and everyone around us at all cost. It also makes start expecting the same from those around us, which has been the spark behind many fights between couples, friends and co-workers, too many to count. Because when those around you don’t perform at the same standards you do, you start seeing them as less worthy and even dispensable, which can put quite the strain on the dynamics of any relationship.
But reaching that out-of-reach land of perfection is unattainable no matter how hard you push yourself. You’ll be better than you were yesterday, but not perfect. No one is. No one will ever be. Think of perfectionism as a butterfly, constantly fluttering around in a field of flowers. Try as you may to follow and catch that gorgeous insect and you’ll smack into a tree or fall down a well.
And in that doomed pursuit, you’ll miss out on everything going on around you, imperfect as it may seem to you, still it has its own sort of beauty which should be appreciated and admired in its own right.
That’s life, imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. So take a look around, enjoy this moment, and be proud of everything you are.