Sunday, December 26, 2010

Perfectionism...the great misnomer

Ah yes perfectionism...the great misnomer. It's almost humorous in it's irony but unfortunately it's usually too pathetic to be funny. As a person trapped in a hole tries frantically to escape, clawing their way towards freedom only to fall right back into the abyss, a perfectionist can never attain their ultimate goal. They will never be good enough; perfect isn't perfect enough.

I am an unabashed perfectionist. But don't confuse perfectionism with perfection ...I certainly don't. I often joke that people who dislike me or intentionally hurt me should realize that no one is meaner to me than I am; and it's true. I see every physical flaw of mine in high-definition; I see every character defect, every mistake as clearly as if there were flashing lights and neon green arrows calling my attention to them. Good isn't good enough. Nothing bothers me more than getting a 99% on a test. I can't accept a compliment to save my life especially if it's about my appearance. I want to shout and say "don't you see the bump in my nose? how my eyes can never make up their minds as to what color they are? how my stomach isn't flat enough and my thighs not toned enough?" but I never do...I usually brush off the compliment with a snide comment or a mumbled reply.

I know why I'm a perfectionist-- I think that if I'm skinny enough, funny enough, pretty enough, smart enough, hell everything enough, everyone will love me and then I'll be blissfully happy and live happily ever after. Unfortunately I'm a realist and I realize that's not going to happen; but it doesn't keep me from trying to be all of those things and more. I try not to broadcast the fact that I desperately want to be perfect; I don't want people to realize how hard I try and how pitifully I fail. Perfectionism reeks of desperation and I don't want anyone to smell the stench emanating from me.

There's a saying...perfection is the enemy of good and I can't agree more. When nothing is good enough for you, you become your own worst enemy. It's like that dysfunctional parent-child relationship in which the child tries so desperately to do things right so they can gain the parent's approval and love but they never quite measure up; only in a way, perfectionism is even worse than that because if you can't accept yourself, flaws and all, who will? When the world beats you up and shows its worse, shouldn't you be your own best friend instead of your own worst enemy?

On that happy note,
That's all for now folks!
Keep reading and commenting!

Am I Good Enough Yet? (an article by Ann Smith on perfectionism and how to combat it)


  1. There is nothing wrong with trying to be perfect. Refusing to try, and refusing to improve just because there's no hope of reaching perfection, is infinitely worse. Just work on accepting that you can't reach your goals, but always work towards them anyways.

    Good enough should always be defined as whatever your best reasonable effort brings you. Give 100% and get whatever less-than-100% result you get. In fact, it sounds like you're already doing that and all you really need to work on is acceptance... and since you've recognized that you have room for improvement here, I think you're well on your way. Good luck! :)

  2. Thanks!
    I always enjoy reading your insightful comments! I'm still working on the whole acceptance thing-- I don't think it will happen overnight!
    I hope you enjoy the blog!

    Keep reading!

  3. hi, I just wonder, have you ever heard about a research in Perfectionism? I thought I read it somewhere about correlation with procrastination. They said procrastinators usually ( surprisingly) come from the perfectionist type of ppl. Maybe you can explain? Big thanks

    by the way I love your blog :)

  4. Hey Scholastica!
    Thanks for reading and commenting my blog! I really appreciat it!
    You bring up an interesting point!
    In my opinion, and from research I found on the topic, there is most definitely a link between being a perfectionist and being a procrastinator.
    I tend to procrastinate because I'm so worried about the project or whatever being perfect and so I keep putting it off. For another example, I normally keep my room very very clean...a place for everything and everything in it's place; but once it reaches a certain level of messiness I just can't handle it so I keep putting it off and off.

    I found some articles on the topic as well:

    Thanks again for reading! Feel free to follow me! :)