Sunday, October 3, 2010

The perfectionism faux pas

(Published in Magnificent Magazine - Addiction issue 2010)

In our quality studded double standard world, a perfectionist is a star, a unique successful person, someone who’s worthy of everyone’s attention and the perfect candidate for idolism. When you come to think of it, you’ll see how you, I and practically every breathing person roaming this earth were pushed to be perfect, starting with our parents who falsely wished to have perfectly mannered children, who achieve the perfect grades and devise the most perfect career there ever was. To commercials which succeeded to wickedly invade our soft core and stimulate the already frenzied shopping addiction using only one word perfection.
So we buy expensive cars to be perfect; we splurge on insane couture to be perfect; we take, inhale, cut and sniff God knows what to have the perfect figure; we twist, turn and bend inside out to land the perfect partner, therefore life, therefore children and we beat ourselves harshly everyday for not following the much complicated guidelines to achieve perfection. Regarding all the aforementioned truths, does perfection count as something good as we’re made to believe or is it merely a faux pas?!

Well… Sometimes, when a healthy desire for perfection exists, it turns out to be a blessing, an unstoppable engine driving people to accomplishments and sparking the necessary twist to ignite motivation. It provides the power to persevere and give much attention to minute details. Perfection also ties people down, obligates them to commit to their project, to persist, to see it through to the end and to reject failure even when it comes in the form of alluring procrastination.
But, and that’s a very unfortunate but, perfectionism spreads through most of us in its ugliest form, where it becomes an obsession, a firing craze to always be a winner, which usually ends with flat out disappointment. That’s why you see most perfectionists are either depressed or weary workaholics, it’s because they, or to be much honest, we have an eerie belief system. A perfectionist easily believes that there’s no room for error thus would relentlessly torture himself over the pettiest mistake as what he achieves means much more than any other blessing he might ever get. It’s the success; it’s the people clapping their hands until they’re sore in respect for their astonishing work; this is what that they are after, anything less can immediately walk a perfectionist through depression, disappointment and self-loathing.

What comes next is the normal expected consequences of perfectionism, where one would be very inflexible and unable to deal and cope with change. To the extent that if you want to flip a perfectionist over, just mess with his/her daily routine and you’ll know what obsession really means. And because of the failing attempts at perfection; a perfectionist is usually associated with a compulsive behavior may it be alcohol, food, drugs, shopping, sex and smoking. That of course happens with an obvious lack of belief in self and own worth and so low productivity happens.
So now, it won’t come as a shocker to you when you hear of a failure perfectionist. In fact, the majority of perfectionists happen to be marked with low productivity as they care too much about how to get things done that to actually get it done.

If you are the natural healthy perfectionist type then you are not part this schemed faux pas, but if you fell for the spell, pushed yourself too hard to please the crowd and gain acceptance through the perfectionist reputation, then I’ve got a couple of things to share with you…
1. There is no such thing as “the right way” to do things; everyone has his own approach that works for them.
2. You can’t blame others for your depression or low accomplishments just as much as no one will ever take credit for your successes.
3. There is no harm in failed attempts; it’s where you give up on things that you’ve failed.
4. Perfectionism comes from you, you’re the one who decides if things are done perfectly or not so don’t be hard on yourself.
5. We are humans after all, we’re allowed screw ups
6. Everyone has a field of expertise you can’t ace it all.
7. Some things just don’t get finished like house chores and work.
8. Like you torture yourself over failures, praise your success.
9. Keep the adventure spirit alive, dabble different approaches instead of knocking on a concealed door that will never open.
10. Perfectionism is subjective!

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