So let me tell you a little secret: I am a perfectionist. Or maybe you already knew that?
Perfectionism is something that for some reason has been perceived as a good thing in our society. You know the drill, perfect career, perfect body, perfect family, perfect house, perfect life. And when I think about it, we all are conditioned to perfectionism from very early age – why else would there be a grade system in schools? I’m lucky to have been a little kid before social media came along. I can only imagine how growing up surrounded by it would have damaged me and my self-confidence.
And how has perfectionism been present in my life besides school? For example in sports – when I competed and didn’t win, I was just a loser. Then later in life I’ve been a perfectionist when it comes to my looks. When I had acne, I was as imperfect as a human could possibly be. I was ugly in my own eyes. In the university I was disappointed when my grades were anything below the best. And today? Well for example my blog site is full of draft posts I don’t want to publish because they just aren’t good enough.
Even though perfectionism can be a motivator on some level, mostly it will just hold us all back. That’s because often we won’t even try new things because we are afraid of failing. And we certainly don’t want to fail before other peoples eyes. But imagine if for example J.K. Rowling was like ”Oh, this book is shit” and never tried to have Harry Potters published? Or if Thomas Edison would have thought that ”Well this light bulb is not bright enough anyway”.
The truth is that nothing will ever be perfect because there isn’t such thing as perfect. So many things that we perceive as perfect are illusions created by others. If you always just try to achieve ‘the perfect’, you will never be happy because there would always be something missing and nothing would ever be good enough. And whenever you’d achieve one thing, you’d already have something else ’more perfect’ in mind. The worst thing is that by being a perfectionist, you miss the the chances to celebrate your achievements and be happy in the moment.
I’ve realised that if I ever want to start anything new, or start making my dreams come true, I have to stop being a perfectionist and accept the fact that life is a journey and everything takes time. No one who’s successful today was born that way. If you want to start a new hobby just go for it – the only way to get better at it is by practising. You will always find people who don’t like what you do and people who will judge you, but the only person really holding you back is you. And remember: even though it looks like the most successful people have it all together, they are still struggling with the same issues as everyone else but are willing to step outside their comfort zones a bit more often than anyone else.
If you even a part of you could relate to perfectionism, try to change your perception even for one week. Decide that there’s no such thing as embarrassing yourself and that you’re free to do anything. Drop your overly strict standards, meet new people with an open heart and don’t define yourself or your life based on decisions you’ve made in the past. Instead of criticising your own body try be kind to yourself. Acknowledge even the smallest of achievements and be proud of yourself. If you fail, it means that at least you are trying. And even then you’re one step closer to where you want to be than you were before.