The Myth of Perfectionism in Life and With Jobs
By: Darci Maxwell
Perfectionism is the curse of our society. We strive to be perfect in everything we do. We want to be the perfect weight, the perfect height, have perfect skin, be the perfect employee, the perfect mother, the perfect friend, or the perfect spouse. Social media exacerbates the myth of perfection, as people only post clean, polished photos, rarely posting the messy and raw reality of life. That often causes us to compare the worst of ourselves to the best of others. They myth of perfection can lead to depression, or can cause us to give up before we even try.
Perfection is a Myth
It is important to remember that perfection is a myth. No one can achieve perfection and to strive for it is self-damaging. Instead of trying to be “perfect” at something, you should strive to improve, become better, and try harder. That methodology leads to growth and satisfaction rather than the emptiness of perfectionism.
Embrace the Mess
It is important to learn to love life for every moment, the perfect and the imperfect. While it seems that the messy moments just make life more stressful, the juxtaposition of the mess and the beautiful moments of life, make life richer and even more beautiful. It would be impossible to appreciate the good if there wasn’t the bad mixed in as well. We live in an imperfect world, we are always going to get curveballs thrown at us, but it is important to embrace the mess rather than abhor it.
Realize That Social Media is a Façade
It is important to realize that social media is a façade. Many of us know this, but we haven’t completely internalized it. People only put the best of themselves on display and hide the worst. There is a reason that Instagram lets you filter your photos, social media is a fake version of real life. Stop looking at it as a thumbprint for life, and see if for the illusion it is.
The most important thing you can do to help overcome the chains of perfection is to stop comparing yourself to others. When we compare, we tend to compare our weaknesses to other people’s strengths. Everyone is at a different stage in their life and it is unfair to do judge. Often, that comparison will stop us from doing things that we might not be great at (yet). Don’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of comparison. Instead, be patient and kind to yourself. Try to be better rather than to be perfect. But above all, embrace your body for what you can do rather than looking down on it for its limitations (as suggested by this blog about the benefits of yoga).
Remember That Failure Teaches
Thomas Edison said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Failing once allows you to try better next time. You will learn valuable lessons on how to do or be better. Every time that something doesn’t work out the way you wanted it to, ask yourself “What can I learn from this?” “What could I have done differently?” and “How can I do better next time?”
Give Yourself Permission to Fail
Part of learning from failure is allowing yourself to fail. It is ok to try something new that you aren’t good at yet. You only become good at something by practicing, so go ahead and try something new. Take risks, try something out even if you don’t think you’ll be any good at it. Give yourself permission to fail, and you will be amazed and what it will do for your life.
Remember That You Are Enough
Nothing is “wrong” with you, you are enough exactly how you are. Your past, your present, and your future all combine to make you the wonderful person that you are, and that is enough. Stop trying to be something that you are not, and embrace yourself for who you are.