Every day, no matter where we turn or look, we’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.
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 second problem with perfectionism is that we are setting ourselves up to a standard that isn’t possible! We assume someone else’s life is perfect and we look down upon ourselves because we know our own life isn’t perfect. We’re not giving ourselves a realistic chance of feeling content with our own lives because we're setting the bar too high.
If we want to live a happier life and move past the constant mode of comparison that some of us live in, we must stop seeing others as perfect before we can accept that we’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?
WORKING ON THE IMPERFECTIONS
While we should all strive to accept ourselves as we are, that doesn’t mean that we can’t take stock of some of our 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 can’t focus on that and 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!
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, we are who we are. We’re each born into our own unique world and bodies and there’s nothing we 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.