Friday, October 10, 2008

The Problem With Perfection

Growing up, the standard for me was perfection. The thing is, that bar continually moves. Its like the proverbial dangling carrot. Going for perfection means you will continually keep running after your goal, right? Wrong. Running after perfection means you run and run and run until you fail. There are several issues with perfection. One is that it is an unattainable goal. Two is that it produces a multitude of undesirable side effects when not achieved.
I'm not saying that you shouldn't push yourself to be the very best YOU can be. I am saying that the measure of "perfection" is always changing and fluctuating. One moment its a if I reach X - goal I will be perfect. If I run X-fast, or have a size X waist, or win X- prize, or if my breasts are X cup.... We always want more for ourselves. There is nothing wrong with continuing to improve and striving for the best of ourselves. The main trouble comes when our happiness depends on reaching perfection. I'll say that again. The main problem with perfection is when our happiness depends on reaching that perfection.

My entire childhood revolved around pleasing others. I had to be the perfect daughter, granddaughter, student, musician, dog trainer, cousin, etc. I had to be perfect so that everyone would love me. I wanted so badly to be perfectly loved. Inevitably I couldn't earn the love I was seeking. I was good at a lot of things, but not perfect. I could never reach that dangling carrot. To this day I struggle with that. Sure I like to win and be the best I can be. I have to be careful though and re-evaluate my motives some times. Am I doing X for me or is it because I seek the approval of others? If the answer is approval and acceptance from others then I have a problem.
When I start seeking to reach the mount of perfection I have learned to take a step back. The only thing I can truly seek after is inner peace and the joy of doing the very best I can every time. Those two things will lead to being the very best me possible.

Edited to add:

I often times find myself paralyzed by the inability to achieve perfection. When I can't do something "just right" I tend to run away from it and not do it at all. Or sometimes I stand there paralyzed wishing I could do it perfectly.
As life often does, I came across this blog that coincides "PERFECTLY" with what I have been thinking about... Check it Out!

What Would Buffy Do?


Tony Kenck said...

Really good post. Perfectionism drives lots of people to bad places.