The Pursuit for Perfection in an Imperfect World


Being a perfectionist is never easy. When things don’t end up perfectly, it’s hard not to feel like a complete failure. Most people would love to get a 95% on a test, however a perfectionist sees this equaling an F. Anything below 100% just won’t do. So many things happen in your brain, and so many things bother you and you don’t understand why. Neither does anyone else, which makes it hard to relate to people sometimes. The best part is when you’re angry for not doing something perfectly, and then you get mad that you think it has to be perfect, but you’re still mad that it wasn’t perfect, and AHHHHH! The cycle just goes on and on and on. Of course, we all know nobody is perfect, but that doesn’t seem to stop the pursuit to perfection. In my brain, if it isn’t perfect, I have failed. Many times, when people get a B on a paper, they are satisfied with that. Me? I see the paper and complete and utter crap. This mindset forces me to constantly ask myself, “Why am I never good enough?” because of course it’s always me, and never anyone else. My friends and I had a fight? Yep that was my fault. I broke up with my significant other? That’s all on me. The teacher took off points on my paper? Well clearly it was the worst paper ever written, and I should just stop trying because I’m a horrible writer.

So where does this come from? Why am I forever trying to be perfect? According to a recent therapy session, it has come to my attention that maybe it stems from my fear of abandonment. In my brain- if I don’t do something perfectly, it’s a failure. If it’s a failure then I’m a failure. If I’m a failure, then I’m not good enough. When I’m not good enough, people leave. And when people leave, I feel alone. So to avoid feeling alone, I try my hardest to make everything perfect. But are my friends really going to leave if I don’t get an A in my Gender Issues class? Probably not, but part of my brain seems to think that that is true.

As frustrating as perfectionism is, it probably is coming from some other underlying issue that you are using perfection to avoid. If you sit and think hard enough, you can find it. And when you do, the perfectionism is that much easier to deal with and maybe even let go of.

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