Why Perfectionism Isn't Worth It

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Every day, no matter where you turn or look, you’re bombarded with ‘perfectionism’.  While the rise of social media has certainly played into this, the battle with perfectionism has existed long before the introduction of Facebook, Instagram, and other forms of social sharing.  

From the dawn of time, people have attempted to portray a life to be envied by others…a perfect life.

This isn’t exactly a news flash, but more of a reminder:  NOBODY is perfect and nobody has a perfect life.


The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel.
-Steven Furtick

 

WHY PERFECTIONISM IS BAD

The main problem with perfectionism is that it relies on comparison.  

‘Perfect’ is only relative.

In order to determine whether you or someone else has a ‘perfect’ life, you have to compare others.  

Comparing oneself to others is rarely a good practice.  First, you have no idea of the other person’s reality (despite the image they project) and second, instead of celebrating your strengths, you’re focusing on your perceived weaknesses.

The constant chase to be perfect means setting yourself up to a standard that isn’t possible! You assume someone else’s life is perfect and you look down upon yourself because you know your own life isn’t perfect. 

You’re not giving yourself a realistic chance of feeling content with your life because you're setting the bar too high.


Comparison is the thief of Joy.
-Theodore Roosevelt

If you want to live a happier life and move past the constant mode of comparison, you must stop seeing others as perfect so that you can accept that you’re not perfect.  

Once you let go of the idea that so & so has a perfect life, it’ll free you to be okay with your imperfections.

 

I’M NOT PERFECT

Before I go any further, I thought I’d share a few of my imperfections.  This is just a random list of things that popped into my mind and they definitely don’t include the worst of my imperfections...

  • As an introvert, I’m not good with small talk at social gatherings
  • I don’t step out of my comfort zone as much I should or I’d like to
  • I could stand to lose about 20 lbs
  • I get really crabby when I’m tired (don’t talk to me and leave me alone, please!)
  • I don’t keep my home as neat, organized, and clean as I probably should
  • I’m stubborn…always have been, always will be
  • Sometimes, I form opinions on things before I have enough information (which isn’t helped by the stubborn factor!)
  • I can never remember people’s names

I could go on and on, but I think you get my point!  But notice one word that kept popping up in this list…’should’.  Even in my own list, I’m comparing myself.  ‘Should’ implies there is a right or wrong way to do something, but who makes that rule?    

Update (Nov 2017): As I spruce up this post to republish it 2 years after I originally wrote it, I realize most of the things I listed above aren't actually true (and probably weren't back then!). As I've worked on myself since then, I've learned to extend more compassion to myself and embrace my imperfections. You might even say I like them now :).

To be human is to be broken and broken is its own kind of beautiful.
-R.M. Drake

 

WORKING ON THE IMPERFECTIONS

While you should strive to accept yourself as you are, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take stock of some of your less-than-stellar qualities to make improvements.

If you have a trait that hurts others or treats others unfairly, while that may ‘just be you’, that doesn’t mean you make some adjustments to treat others better.

On the flip side, if you want to achieve certain goals, you’ll get a lot farther if you stop comparing yourself to others and take stock of your own capabilities.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, compare yourself with YOU! 


Look in the mirror...That's your competition.
-Unknown

This will take care of that ‘should’ problem.  If you know your own capabilities, then sure, ‘should’ might creep back into the dialogue, but only if it’s relative to yourself.  

Look at where you’ve been and devise a plan for where you want to be that betters yourself from your own past. 

This is much more effective than trying to set standards for yourself based on others.

 

ACCEPT YOUR IMPERFECTIONS

At the end of the day, you are who you are.  You're born into your own unique world and bodies and there’s nothing you can do to change that.  

Accepting yourself is making peace with yourself.  

It’s the foundation for loving who you are and allowing yourself to make mistakes, learn from them, and to do better next time.

I’m not perfect….and that’s perfectly okay!  

Now, repeat that to yourself every day until you believe it!
What are your views on perfectionism? Do you struggle with comparing yourself to others? Leave me a comment and let me know...I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter!