Since we started our social life, we have learned to seek perfectionism. At school, whose works does the teacher display on the wall? Who is praised? Who is usually admired? Those who do everything perfectly, or so it seems.
Sometimes it is as if the idea of perfection was invented for the sole and exclusive purpose of harassing us.
Have you ever stopped to think that what we call perfection is a simple matter of opinion? And in other situations, it is a matter of occasion. And that perfection can involve imperfection, as in the case of a football game, that if everyone plays perfectly, there will be no goal.
The answer to dealing with the search for perfection is balance . Someone who is not concerned with doing a good job and doesn’t give a damn about careful preparation is very different from someone who, feeling compelled to be perfect, ends up paralyzed by the fear of doing something wrong.
We know that in some professions there is a constant search for perfection, like the diamond cutter, as they need to follow strict parameters.
It is worth remembering that the level of perfection that we aim for and admire is unlikely to be reached unless we go through a training period.
The law of decreasing return
The search for perfection is subject to the law of decreasing return. Hi?! Yes!
As much as it can motivate us to do our best, if taken to the extreme it can lead to the exact opposite, leading to constant dissatisfaction, failure, giving up, procrastination, and the individual simply gives up trying.
The danger is that, very often, when we insist on perfection we end up with nothing.
What makes us want perfectionism in everything?
What leads the perfectionist to the burning desire to do everything right? Fear of being unmasked.
The internal critic will complain: “Everyone” will fail us.
perfectionism is a way of expressing the desire to avoid constraints. And so, often, the choice is to do nothing. So we can hold on to the idea of “It would have been perfect, if I had done it”, and with that, live in fantasy.
Changing this pattern of behavior
To change this pattern, the first step is to identify how you feel about other people’s perfectionism. Reflect if you have said or thought any of these phrases, and what these attitudes mean:
“They have lower standards.”
C ertain people have lower standards, or follow no pattern, and do well. I am not suggesting that we level down.
But does the fact that we stray as little as possible from my standard mean that I must abandon it completely? No! Sometimes you have to do your best, even if you fall short of your best, due to lack of time, resources, etc., and that does not mean that you have started to adopt lower standards, but the priority is different.
“They can screw up because they are rich / successful / adored.”
This is the typical phrase of the all or nothing syndrome: others have everything and we have nothing. But this is rarely true.
“They make everything perfect.”
How are you sure about that? Nobody is perfect. We tend to mitigate the mistakes and defects of the people we like and admire. And so it seems that everything they do, they do it perfectly.
However, this is not true, and it certainly does not apply to everything they do. Ask them if they never made any mistakes. Many people love to tell their stories of mistakes (past, of course!).
“I don’t expect anything from others to fall short of perfection”
Are we asking the other person to do his best or to do more than he can? There is a difference between a pressure that motivates and another that crushes, we are not always able to see it, and the result is the possible paralysis of those who suffer this pressure.
Each must determine the importance he has attached to his standard of personal perfection.
“What do you have to sacrifice to do everything right? Is it worth it?” It is not uncommon for perfectionists to buy fights because of an automatic desire to win, a feeling that is quite natural, without stopping to think twice if it is really worth it.
In some situations we end up mistaking ourselves for thinking that the other does not consider us perfect enough. But remember: finding is not knowing. It may be that what we consider least is considered fantastic by others.
After all, perfection is a matter of opinion.
The secret is to tell ourselves: “I will take this risk, even if I don’t feel sure if it will work or not. Because the only way to find out if I’m going to handle this or not is to try. ”
If you believe that not being perfect means not doing your best, it may cause a crisis of conscience.
We live in a culture that encourages us to aim for the maximum, and never settle for less. However, there are times when the best way is the middle one . Not always, but sometimes.
Choosing to be less perfect, means living at the beginning with discomfort, with anxiety . However, after this initial moment, there is a reduction in anxiety when we realize that we are actually doing more than in the past.
Some useful tips
To be less perfect, start by purposefully doing something imperfectly. Example: make the bed without stretching the sheet. Or wash all but one dish. It doesn’t matter what you choose. The important thing is to do and then evaluate the result.