What does the word perfect mean? To most of us it means to be without flaws. Can you think of anything at all that is totally perfect? We are surrounded daily by advertisements that support the quest for perfection. We are always being advised on how to achieve the perfect body, the perfect children, the perfect home or the perfect career, on and on. Even those models on the covers of our magazines are not perfect. Art directors send the photos of these near perfect beauties to Photoshop where they are airbrushed into perfection. As innocent as that seems, the effect on us is negative. When we don’t measure up, we feel dissatisfied. It’s scary to think what all this does to our children’s minds. They are being influenced also.
What if the word perfect or some facsimile word did not exist? What would life be without the constant pressure to become perfect? Think about the magazines headlines that would read “Try this recipe for a quick improved dinner for two”: instead of ” Try this recipe for the perfect dinner for two”. Yes, improvement is definitely a positive thing, but perfection is totally unattainable. Think about how boring it would be if you were really able to become perfect. You would never push yourself to grow, or to learn anything new. What is it about human nature that makes us so gullible and believes we can achieve perfection? Why do we buy into it so easily and then become depressed when we find we fall short? That is the time when they sell us a pill so that we will think we feel perfect. What a deception! Reality sets in at some point, pill or no pill.
We buy into the idea that successful people have perfect lives. Well they don’t and we all know it. How about Sandra Bullock, Tiger Woods, or Larry King? All are fabulously talented glamorous people in their own right. But do you see perfection anywhere? We attack politicians viciously for their weaknesses in their personal lives. Why do we expect so much from politicians and celebrities? They may have more money, but are they more successful or PERFECT all around?
Do you have the perfectionist syndrome? Just answer a few simple questions listed below.
!) Do you find that most things you do don’t seem to be good enough to yourself? Are you proud enough of something you accomplish or created to bring it to the attention of someone else?
2) When someone says you did a good job at something, instead of saying thank you, do you tell him or her everything that you believe is wrong with it?
3) Do you feel defeated even before you begin a project? Do you tell yourself secretly; ” I could never do that, so why bother”?
Answer to question #1)
If you answered yes to question # 1, you have a mild case of perfectionism. Nip it in the bud. Never think of something you created or did as not good enough. That is setting you up for failure. What you create is good because YOU created it. Rid your mind of self-criticism. Believing in yourself increases your ability to create even better products. Winning begets winning! Think of yourself as a winner. The rest will come naturally.
Answer to question #2)
Did you answer yes? Better watch out. You are a moderate perfectionist. Begin to change your thinking, now! When you get a compliment try to believe it. Never put yourself down. In essence you are the one who will believe the negatives, not your admirer. They will not change they opinion, but they will wonder why you are so insecure. You will never be able to convince yourself otherwise if the critique is coming from your mouth. Continue it this mode and you will face disappointments over and over.
Answer to question #3)
Is your answer yes? You are a full-fledged perfectionist. The world is not perfect. What makes you different? Do what ever it takes to change your negative mind set. No one is perfect. May I introduce you to Seymour, spelled (see more)? Open your eyes. Take a good look around you. Where is the perfection? The only one who will lose from the obsession to be perfect is you. Here is a surprise. People will like you better when they find out you are like them, just shy of perfect. Start by telling yourself twice a day that it is okay to be just a little under your expectations. You will be surprised at how much better you will feel about yourself.
Accepting the fact that this world is simply an imperfect place inhabited by imperfect life forms is a very constructive thing to do. It levels the playing field and makes achieving your goals easier. The biggest hurdle is simply accepting and understanding that perfect doesn’t exist. You will never be satisfied or happy as a perfectionist. Why not feel happier and let go of that obsessive need to be perfect?