Dismantling the Myth of Perfection

The quest for perfection and validation is all too common in today’s world. Wanting to be perceived as someone who has it all together drives much of our behaviour on either a conscious or sub-conscious level. Living up to our own high standards proves to us that we are worthy and deserving individuals. Often, not only do we place high expectations on ourselves, we can tend to project those same expectations onto others.

Feeling like we make the grade when it comes to our own expectations of how we should be often fuels our desire to do things perfectly. Otherwise, feeling inadequate is a highly uncomfortable feeling and can lead to a sense of shame. In and of itself, striving for excellence is not a bad thing!

However, when expectations of perfection interfere with our life satisfaction and relationships and are unattainable, perfection does take an enormous toll on our lives, both physically and emotionally. Unattainable perfectionism has the potential to sabotage our joy, health and quality of life as we subconsciously set ourselves up to fail. Feeling like we don’t measure up can make us downright miserable!

Putting our warts and limitations on display for all to see is not an option for perfectionists. Having our truly authentic selves exposed and risking rejection is not something anyone in their right mind would choose for themselves. Right?

To feel enough as is (good enough person, good enough parent, good enough son or daughter, good enough partner, good enough employee, attractive enough, smart enough, deserving enough, etc.) can be a major challenge for many and a huge source of distress for anyone who sets unrealistic standards for themselves or tries to measure up to the standards that we so admire in others.

Comments 1

  • Thanks for sharing this very intersting post, Monique. The notion of embracing “good enough”, which can sometimes be equated with the more pessimist connotation of “just slightly above mediocre”, is a challenging but potentially liberating concept for me. When I think of all the messages we hear and actions we take to “be the best we can be”, I visualize the challenges of the busy (harried) individual who goes to great lengths and efforts to achieve great results in order to have great success for great purposes. And yet, there is still the lingering question of, could it have been better? Your message of “Your best…is more than enough” invites a new perspective and approach to how we execute and interpret the process and results in any given context of our lives. I am so guilty of criticizing and interpreting my efforts and results as “NOT good enough”. I also do it with those I love or work. Thanks for helping me to recognize this. I look forward to reading your future posts.

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