Lower your stress, you need to overcome the negative side of perfectionism.
Striving for perfection is a tricky business. While this is an excellent quality to have; it can sometimes do more harm than good.
In the end, it all depends on how a person controls the negative aspects associated with being a perfectionist. Ever heard of the two-headed Janus?
The reference of the two-headed Janus comes from William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice. In literal terms, it means that every person and everything has two sides, one good and one bad. The same goes for the trait of perfection.
While on one end, it can help you become a master of all traits, on the other, it can cause you limitless stress. Thus, to lower your stress, you need to overcome the negative side of perfectionism.
Easing Into Stress Through Perfection – The Causes
Perfectionism is often born out of praise by someone about how great a person is at something. This causes people to start associating their self-worth with being perfect at things. Thus, the thought of being imperfect becomes a cause of unnecessary stress for people.
The drive to be perfect puts constant pressure on a person's mind. It results in sleep pattern disturbances, insomnia, indigestion, depression, anxiety, ulcers in extreme cases, and you guessed it – stress.
Pushing oneself to be perfect requires a lot of work. It is something that is a full-time job. Take the life of influencers, for example. No one knows how much depression, loneliness, and anxiety is hidden behind the smiling faces we see on our Instagram newsfeed. It is depicted perfectly in the short film, 'A Social Life,' which has won the Best Ladies First Short award at the Lady Filmmakers Festival in Pacific Grove, CA, and the Best International Actor award at the Canberra International Short Film Festival.
A toxic habit of perfectionists is that they tend to analyze and overanalyze everything. Every quality, every decision, everything. They see it from every angle to the point, until they actually find a flaw, or sometimes even imagine they did. This is a very toxic trait that causes needless stress and leads to other mental help problems. Also, this is the leading cause of unhappiness.
What perfectionists don't want to accept is that they are flawed. Every person in the world is flawed, and so are they. Instead of realizing and accepting this, they tend to stress over their imperfections to the point where they will do anything to eliminate them. Take the example of Rodrigo Alves, a cosmetic surgery addict who had twelve operations to look perfect. The surgeries almost killed him, but he still isn't satisfied with his looks. Many others like him go for extreme body makeovers to get the perfect appearance.
Keeping The Good, Eliminating The Bad
Being a perfectionist isn't bad. However, you just need to know where to draw the line. Trying to improve something is not wrong, but obsessing over it to the point of impracticality is wrong. Being a perfectionist is a trait that can benefit people a lot in their professional lives, especially if their job is related to crunching up the numbers or party planning. However, cleaning a window for an hour is what should be avoided.
The first step to knowing where to draw the line is to understand the fine line between impracticality and practicality. Try to perfect things to the point which doesn’t fall under obsession or doesn’t cost you more than the benefit. Don’t let a task affect your mental or physical health. Remember that something is always better than nothing.
Try to be more flexible and adaptable. Don't go back, again and again, to fix something just because it can't be placed on your pedestal of perfection. If it isn't harming anyone, then let it go.
Perfect is not always better. Running after perfection can sometimes ruin the experience. Imperfections make for pleasant stories. Planning every outing, every day to the last bit makes it dull, uneventful, and stressful. If you want to have a good time, then sometimes you have to let loose.
Don't miss out on deadlines and things just because you are lost in translation. Sometimes it is just enough to show up rather than not attending a big day due to a small set back. The same goes for projects. Don't miss out on the submission deadline because you think it has a long way to go. Getting a B is better than getting an F. Use logic in situations like these.
Fearing decision making or taking too long to take action because you can’t decide the best course of action or choice, can sometimes lead to it getting too late. Again, chasing perfection sometimes limits your options and restricts us, even causing us to lose many opportunities along the way.
“Perfection is a type of obsession. Don’t let it overpower your mind, or it won’t ever leave your side” – Ms. Janet Denzen, an Editor & Philosophy Tutor at Academist Help.
There are many ways to curb the obsession of perfection. The first one is to realize what the issue is and how it is harmful. Knowing what is wrong helps people take more enlightened decisions. However, if you don't understand where you are going wrong, then it's time for some research. Read about perfection and obsession online on
- What is it?
- How it affects a person?
- How to control it?
Also, ask the people who are the closest to you. Ask them to be brutally honest, and instead of taking offense to it or becoming defensive, try to think about it. Think over why they said, what they said, and remember that they could never mean you any harm.
Work to improve your obsession by first trying to control things yourself. Identify where you are most affected and try to ignore it. See a crooked tie or a messy desk? Just keep walking and do what you are doing. Ignore things once, twice, thrice, and you will see that they will eventually stop bothering you that much. Also, you can maintain a journal to identify where you went overboard throughout the day so they can be avoided the next day.
If you can't control it yourself and it is taking a toll on your life, then it is time to seek outside help, whether it is joining a support group, or going to a therapist who will tell you ways you can control your perfection syndrome before it kills your happiness.
Keep telling yourself that it is perfectly alright for things not to be perfect. After all, Utopia is not real, and if it were, it would be pretty boring and uneventful. Flaws are what spice up life. Learn to accept that because, at the end of the day, acceptance is the most crucial step to happiness and freedom.
Try to rid your life of the negative aspects of perfectionism while keeping the good ones that can be beneficial. Once you achieve the balance between the two, you will see how much lighter and freer you actually feel. And even if you are taking longer or are messing up in trying to attain the balance, don't worry, nothing has to be perfect. You are human, after all.
Melissa Calvert is the founder of the website Accuratecite.com and is a Social Science Analyst at King Essay. Since her teens, she has been fascinated by how people react to certain things and why. Melissa thought of taking Psychology as her major in college but was reeled in by Social Sciences.