Perfectionism – A Mirage
“WE ARE CALLED TO BE WHO WE ARE WITH ALL OUR CRACKS AND IMPERFECTIONS”
What is perfection? Is it something that pauses
our extravagant desires? Or will it trigger them even more? Is perfection the ultimate goal?
According to the Greek mythology,’teleios’-meaning perfect refers to someone who is mature. Maturity, here, means possessing a sense of wisdom. And wisdom entails a sensible way of looking at the things.
But people today are highly mistaken with the definition of perfectionism.Perfectionism, nowadays, is seen as a combination of excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations.
According to Gordon Flett and Paul Hewitt ,the two psychologists who have studied perfectionism in depth, perfectionism had three forms -self-oriented perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism, and socially prescribed perfectionism.Out of these three,’socially prescribed perfectionism’ is most enfeebling because in such a scenario,an individual believes that he has a strong social demanding ,that others judge him harshly, and that he must display perfection at each and every point of time.
Basically,our ambitions are ignited by the perfection we observe in our great people. But what remains unseen is the ocean of tears and despair that surrounded them in their initial attempts. This unbalanced perspective makes us stuck in an uncomfortable paradox.
For example;if a person happens to visit a museum, he will aspire to the art and try to emulate it, unaware of the legitimate and necessary row of failures where the artist broke down.
It’s not wrong to make attempts to be perfect, nevertheless what seems to be perfect today may be imperfect tomorrow or the very next moment.
Research says that the demand of perfection becomes a vicious cycle of numerous expectations followed by depression, eating disorders,bipolar disorders, anxiety, insomnia and chronic fatigue.
According to the meta-analysis rate of perfection carried out by Dr. Andrew Hill,a delegate of York St. John University ,it has been observed that from 1989 to 2016,there has been an extreme increment,of around 33%, in the number of people with perfectionist tendencies,and majority of them are adolescents.Hill also added that perfectionism and performance anxiety are intertwined amongst teenagers.
According to Hill, perfectionists are most likely to fall into self criticism and give up on things more easily.
It has also been observed that perfectionists engage themselves in potential means of escape like alcohol misuse, binge eating etc.
Gordon Flett who has studied perfection for around 30 years came up with the fact that perfectionists die an early and unnatural death.A study also found that more than 70 percent of young people who died by suicide were in the habit of creating ‘extremely high’ expectations of themselves, which shows how fatal perfectionism is.
What is actually compelling us to become perfect? The answer is adulation, recognition and fear of losing controls.
Perfection can never be experienced in the infinite. It’s only for that moment. For instance, if we take into account the human realm of ‘SAMSARA”-your sleeping and waking up is a death process you go through, we are reborn everyday, and what might have been perfect for you yesterday may seem completely irrelevant today. As we grow, our values change and it might be possible that they contradict our previous beliefs.
People sometimes try to seek visibility in this world and for this they start caging their emotions and beliefs so as to be called ‘perfect’.
The two common myths that lurks behind perfection :
PERFECTION KEEPS YOU SAFE.
Seeking of perfection comes out of deep fear and insecurity of being judged.
PERFECTION BRINGS SATISFACTION
There is a conception that if we are perfect, we are loved and cherished,we have more of everything.
Once a desire is fulfilled, the other gets ready. Satisfaction is a thirst that never quenches.
The real essence of perfection is an attachment to the self as a separate, unique and real identity.
The urge of perfection stunts our growth.If we think it’s perfect,it ceases to evolve or grow further.Perfect is something we want to have a hold upon, giving a pause to our explorations.
Christians believe that cracks and imperfections are inevitable to let Jesus’ glory to light the souls of prodigy.
Taking into account our own body,in our brain,where our cognitive thoughts lie ,there is a very thin membrane that separates ignorance and wisdom.The urge of being perfect comes from the place of ignorance.And ignorance leads us to nowhere.Hence ,we must choose the pursuit of excellence over the demand of perfection because it helps us to attain a higher level of what we are at present, to be the best one can be ,but not at the cost of self esteem as it focuses more upon achievement rather than outcome.
So, acknowledge your faults and imperfections,mend them and then rise to infinity.