Perfectionism: Do You Need a Reality Check?
Do you keep falling short of your expectations? Are you striving for perfection but are never able to obtain it? Are you disappointed with your progress? If yes, it might be time for a reality check.
Unless your profession requires it, if you want to be happy, let go of perfectionism.
One of the problems with perfectionism is that there are different ideas on what it means and if we don't realize it, we can end up striving for perfection and never reaching it because our idea of what it means is constantly changing.
If we're making progress, we realize that we can expand our goals once we see ourselves reaching them. There isn't anything wrong with striving for more until it keeps us from appreciating how far we've come. We have to learn how to be satisfied with what we have along the way.
The other problem with perfectionism is that mistakes are bound to happen. No one is perfect.
Is there anything wrong with beating ourselves up about not being perfect? They say we are our worst critic. When we're struggling to be perfect and we fall short of our own expectations, that's when striving for perfection can be hazardous to our mental and physical health. Disappointment, frustration, overwhelm… it all leads to stress and even hopelessness. And if we let it, it can lead to depression.
One of the most important lessons we can learn in life is to stop taking ourselves so seriously. It's recognizing that we don't have to have it all figured out before we can make a move or take an action. It's saying, "Oh, crap" or "Oops", and then moving on. It's taking advantage of the lessons we can learn and striving to be better versions of ourselves every day.
Striving for perfection, that's fine. But not when it leads to stress and frustration. We have to learn how to be happy along the way.
As a writer and editor, I've dealt with perfectionism a lot. Get those typos, catch those errors. Don't hit "Send" until you've read that email at least five different times. Let me tell you how neurotic that is! Obsession over never making a mistake, that's neurotic. It will make you pull your hair out or cause stomach problems.
You know what? We're all going to make mistakes. If your profession requires perfection, then, of course, strive for it, be it, do it. But if it's not a life and death situation, striving for perfection and never achieving it just leads to stress if we're failing to enjoy the ride.
Things don't always go as planned. Maybe something takes a lot longer than expected to achieve or disaster strikes and the big idea you had, well, it didn't happen the way you wanted it to. Just think about rain during an outside wedding or an interruption during a marriage proposal. Or losing your internet connection before a big deadline.
Big events in life don't always go as planned. And if you don't learn to curb the stress, it will keep following you around, wreaking havoc in your life.
The truth is that our biggest failures can be our biggest lessons. And the beauty of experience is that we can always strive to be better versions of ourselves.