Why be perfect, when you can be average?
Here’s why average is way better than perfect.
Perfectionism according to some is a psychological disorder. Those who suffer with perfectionism may disagree, because that would mean they are less than perfect, but according to research, it sets a person up for depression, anxiety, relationship problems, eating disorders, and in extreme cases, suicide. Any one of these results is a high price to pay just to appear perfect. Perfect is actually unattainable, no matter who you are or who you think you are. You are in fact human; flawed and oh so human.
We live in a day when perfectionism resides as close as your back pocket or purse. Social media runs the average day, all amok with embellished images of blissful lives, immaculate homes, unblemished bodies, adept and accomplished children, impeccable partners and vacations and weekend getaways beyond compare. If you are suffering with perfectionism, these images wreak havoc on your mind and heart. We compare our mediocre to something completely unreal and unattainable and then fill our head with self talk of shame, guilt, doubt and frustration.
Being a perfectionist is hard work. One never feels accomplished. A perfectionist can never feel pride in a job well done because they never see the job they did, as done well enough. Perfectionists never really take risks. Anything that can not be done perfectly, won’t even be attempted because failure is not an option or acceptable outcome. In fact, the focus for a perfectionist is never really on success, but rather, failure. They work in extremes, with black and white kinds of thinking. One may be successful today, but a failure at best, tomorrow. Sadly, one who struggles with perfectionism never has a consistent source for self worth.
When one is always consumed with thoughts of perfection, thinking becomes skewed. They come to demand similar traits in others. When others fall short, and they will, a perfectionist will often respond with high levels of criticism that can create barriers to good communication and meaningful relationships.
So, what a person to do?
First, you must recognize in what ways perfectionism creates problems for you, because everyone is different. Perhaps only certain areas of your life are affected. Pay attention to those areas of your life when you feel the most insecure and ashamed; those moments when you can see for yourself that even your own standards can feel impossible.
Begin setting realistic goals and understand that excellence is a great swap for perfectionism. Excellence is achievable; it’s doing our best time and again and even seeing an improvement in our efforts. Consider that everything we do is an opportunity to learn and grow. Give those around you, a chance to make mistakes as well. When we learn to let others fall and fail it becomes easier for us to allow the same from ourselves.
We all need to practice being more authentic and real. Life is meant to be experienced; the good with the bad, the successes and the failures. When we can begin to put these little changes into practice, the cords of perfectionism that bind us will begin to loosen. We will find that life can be less stressful and anxious and more pleasant and relaxing. Try to look at each situation from a new perspective. By doing this, we can change some of our rigid thinking.
Average is healthy. Average leaves room for excellence and growth. Average is very exciting and creative. Average isn’t afraid to take risks because even failure is an amazing place to learn new things. Average is patient, loving, kind and connected. Even if at first, you can’t quite let go of the entire lifestyle of perfection, try compromising for one day and let yourself be human.