Battling perfectionism isn’t an easy battle to fight. Perfectionism is a double-edge sword that has you pounding that extra shot of espresso, redecorating your living with brand new Anthropologie home decor (that you can’t afford) and shamelessly counting calories and binging celery sticks. The commoditization of perfection is something that is inherent to our cultural narrative. “I like I bought it,” says Ariana.
Perfectionism when taken too far can deter our emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being. I mean, being motivated is all good and jolly, but what happens when the intentions behind our motivations become so perverse that we begin to turn against ourselves? a
Recently, I have come to the numbing conclusion that I am a rampant and out of control perfectionist. I can barely sit still because I am constantly searching for a new fixation that will help deter me from confronting a very paramount truth about my existence; I feel everyday that I am average. And while I enjoy the decoration of self-mastery, I find that accepting this hard and fast truth is the one way out of my scorned inner-critic. My inner-critic is my driver – it is the mechanism that pushes me every morning to wake up & go to work, to try new hairstyles, to lose five pounds & expand my horizons. In fact, it probably the perfectionist identity in me now that is sitting here writing a piece for my blog which I made to create a my very own therapy practice for.
However, when the incentive for me to contribute to society in a meaningful way is based on a flawed derivative of what I want people to think of me – I find that I feel fucking exhausted.
Therefore, I am writing this letter to myself: I want to learn to live my life, find success and get rid of my perfectionism. To do this, I feel like I have to define the difference between competition and perfection.
I grew up as a dancer, which in its essence is a very serious sport. Competition and mastery were the two ingredients which made a successful dancer. Competition was a vertical that I never truly excelled in as an adolescent. In fact, if it didn’t have an artistic flare, I really didn’t see the premise. I was always motivated by making things beautiful. That yearning for beauty came from a highly intense and active imagination. While competitive people compare themselves to others always searching for ways to prove themselves against their perceived competition, I just always wanted to prove to myself that I could get better.
When a competitive person is placed against their object of comparison and they’re doing better, they feel happy and secure about themselves. When the situation is the latter, they tend to feel unhappy about themselves. Depending on how developed an individuals personal identity is this situation can turn to envy, jealousy and greed quickly.
Perfection crept into my life when I realized that in society we categorize elements of perfection as fundamentally beautiful. And as a Libra, I am constantly defining my life by what I constitute as beauty making. If it isn’t an aesthetic, then I am out. When perfectionists look at others they typically compare themselves against imaginary standards. And for every perfectionist these standards can be comparatively different based on the individuals preferences. While competitive people can be a bummer, perfectionists can begin to hate themselves. This invariably leads to an ongoing feeling of frustration, low self-esteem, stress, bad health and loss of friends.
Getting Out of Our Perfectionist Heads | Trait Perfectionism
We don’t have to be the best at every thing that we do. In fact, we just have to find one thing in this world and do it well. To live our lives with conviction and passion. Without these two main ingredients we’re living a life that is at baseline unsatisfactory. I want to live this life acknowledging that I am fine and that I belong regardless of my perceived contribution. At the end of the day, my perfectionism is the number one thing that is creating between the most important relationship I’ll ever have in my life: my relationship with myself. It is the sad song in the back of my mind that reminds me that I will never be perfect enough if I don’t just keep trying harder and pushing more. Healing from perfectionism can be hard. I think the majority of the people I know also suffer to some degree with a level of perfectionism.