How Does Perfectionism Influence Our Life
I am sure that most of us have rather high standards and requirements for our life and ourselves in each and every aspect. However, as long as we hold perfection as our ultimate purpose, we will end up creating a life which we cannot fully enjoy.
What is perfectionism?
Perfectionism is an excessive commitment to excellence in actions, work, outcomes, behaviour and lifestyle in general.
A perfectionist can be considered any person who sets “excessively overestimated, unrealistic goals” and perceives it as a personal failure if the goals aren’t achieved. Most perfectionists think that whatever they do they will never do it well enough. Thus, if they haven’t scored over 100% they consider it as a failure.
The seeds of perfectionism get in so deeply that there is some degree of perfectionism in almost all of us.
Seeds of perfectionism are sowed in us already at school
In fact, school is a place where superiority triumphs. It leads to the fact that children’s mentality is formed in a way that they attempt to outperform even perfection.
The system based on marks and evaluations hasn’t been developed for teachers to define students’ needs, but rather for students to know their place. How good are you? How perfect are you?
If you ask teachers who are their favourite students, most likely they will point at straight-A students who study their subject perfectly. Teachers will predict for them a magnificent and bright future. A commitment to excellence is always encouraged in education.
The idea of permanent improvements is achievable within this system. School students and college students can take a 5-or 100-mark system for a basis.It is based on the idea that the closer you are to perfection the more chances you have for a better life in the future.
Higher marks will give you a ticket to the best college which will ensure you the best job and then you will be able to afford the best car, the best house and the best family.
Parents play no less an important role
Parents willingly act as punitive body for the school. They strengthen systems based on marks and evaluations, they keep track of children’s marks, check on their homework and projects, associating these daily tasks with a sense of accomplishment. Moreover, parents often lecture children for their slightest mistakes. The idea behind it is that children are raw pieces of clay which have to be molded in what parents will see as acceptable.
Obedience is planted. We are taught “to behave our best” in public so that people around us will regard our behaviour as “ideal”.
Have you noticed that people often praise parents for their children’s behaviour? It happens all the time. And they put the pressure on the child without any hesitation once he doesn’t behave properly.
It often happens that a child gets broken during the “upbringing” process being influenced by the carrot and the stick approach. The desired behaviour is rewarded by various bonuses and care. While the non-desired behaviour is cut out and punished.
The child will always feel that he isn’t loved; moreover that he doesn’t deserve love. As parents are the most important and precious people in the child’s life, he will try his best to adjust and meet all parental expectations. In such an environment, perfectionism gives the power not to be rejected by your tribe; the right for love, recognition and respect.
Our world — is a world of competition, therefore to succeed in it, we consider that we shall have to be perfect.
We get to a cycle of the unattainable purposes
Researches show that those who strive to perfection achieve less, than those who don’t in real life.
It happens due to a cycle of the unattainable goals and negative consequences. This cycle starts when a perfectionist sets the unattainable goal. And then, if he doesn’t achieve it, he perceives himself as a loser and then it leads self-accusation and decrease in a self-esteem. Moreover, it can transform into anxiety or depression. But what perfectionist thinks is that if next time he tries harder the outcome will turn out perfect. Such mentality starts a new cycle and inevitably leads to a new failure and negative consequences.
Perfectionism is a squirrel wheel which will never stop, won’t make you happy and won’t satisfy you as Person.
How to stop being a perfectionist?
In order to stop being a perfectionist, it is necessary to clearly understand what fear stands behind it. As a rule, what stands behind it is a fear of disapproval, punishment, condemnation, fear not to be good enough. This fear pushes an individual to act on the edge of exhaustion. What you need to do is to gain strength and decide to face this fear.
For this particular purpose there is a simple and efficient method: intentionally do intentionally what you are afraid of.
You might have to do it not just once, but a few. Ask somebody to express disapproval, to scarify you and to rub your nose on your weaknesses. Try to feel whether you can endure it and overcome? And suddenly you will realize that it isn’t terrible and deadly. You aren’t that small child any more who once was frightened of parent dislike or punishment. Try to feel whether you feel terrible or not. Having done it, you feel that you are free from long-term tension, mobilization left. Imperceptibly after some time you feel exempted from being perfectionist, from this duty to be perfect, at least it will get weaker. From that moment on, whenever you realize that you can do something about it, you will feel freedom, huge amount of energy will release and you will be able to lead it to necessary direction. You will see that you are of great value despite all the imperfections.
Our imperfections are the cornerstone of our uniqueness and individual value. Therefore grant yourself the right to be imperfect.