The Perfection Problem

Some of the people I live with and love dearly have a problem.  It is perfection. 

I wish I knew how to solve, mitigate, soften, release etc. the pressure for perfection for them.  I’m failing in this regard.  See!  Imperfection is everywhere!

When I want to do something perfectly, I usually heap a bunch of stress on myself and am rarely happy with the result.  That beautiful action, thing, experience, etc. that I dreamt about, and planned for, doesn’t become the reality.  Nothing new here, just the usual way life goes.  I try to shrug, and if I have done my best, then I consider it good enough.  Most of the time.  Then there are the times I can’t let it go.  The tape runs on a loop in my brain over and over again–should haves, could haves, would haves –all rolling around without end.

I know all the things I should think, but I don’t.  I should be satisfied with good work well done and not be so bothered by the lack of perfection.  I think of advice that folks have given me –“a speedy C job is better than a long A+ job” and the like.  When I am caught in the perfection expectation these things rarely help much.

Some studies suggest that society is contributing toward a trend to perfectionism.  This signals many problems that follow.  Instead of motivation, we could see stagnation, due to fear of failure.  Our efforts to raise “perfect children” can lead to higher levels of labeling, and create families that operate on conditional love–love reserved for the perfect, pretty, and successful only.  It creates more litigation.  If something unfortunate occurs, then someone must be to blame for the imperfection that caused the event.

Society will suffer in other ways.  Negative mental health effects of this problem will also increase.  The need for treatment for depression, despair, and self-loathing that can lead to violence just to name a few.

I hope we can each advocate for flexibility, perseverance and willingness to try our best.  Work to achieve our ideas and the healthy evaluation of our abilities.  Freedom from perfection is possible and in our best interest both personally and for our society.