While the notion of perfectionism has been societally glorified as a mark of strong work ethic, the truth is that it is in fact a damaging and destructive hindrance to one’s personal growth. In addition to creating constant feelings of doubt and inadequacy, perfectionism prevents individuals from authentically exploring the things that make them happy. And yet, despite the emotional turmoil this character trait creates, many of us continue to fall victim to it each and every day. Why? Because the momentary gratification that comes with earning outside approval feels really good. And as a result, we want to experience it again and again.
If you’re currently reading this article and nodding your head in agreement, please know you’re not alone. In fact, it is the misconception that perfectionism is a precursor to success that continues to feed our fears. Ironically referred to as the “anxious generation,” millennials are feeling the pressure now more than ever to live up to unsustainable and often, self imposed expectations. However, if you want to take charge of your future, now’s the time to end the cycle. Remembering that you do not need to be flawless to achieve success isn’t an easy endeavor. Nevertheless, it is a necessary one.
Perfectionism is not the answer to becoming your best self. Here’s why:
Perfectionism makes you insecure.
When examining your life through the clouded lens of perfection, it’s impossible to see things for what they really are. Regardless of how fortunate or successful you may be, perfectionism tricks you into believing it’s never enough. From self imposed milestones to societally dictated timelines, there’s always a reason to think that you’re failing. In turn this belief breeds a sense of insecurity in everything you’re doing or have done up until that point. It’s a vicious cycle that leaves you feeling stuck in a quicksand of doubt.
Perfectionism blocks your creativity.
If you prescribe to the belief that creativity is unique to the individual, then it’s only fair to assume that it must come from within. Unfortunately, when you allow perfectionism to dictate your narrative, you cannot possibly operate from that place. As a creator, you likely understand how exhausting perfectionism can be on a physical, mental and emotional level. However, let’s be clear that creativity is not reserved only for photographers and artists. Creativity is our human right. It is what makes us successful business owners, engaged partners and loving parents. We need our sense of creativity to show up in the world no matter what we do. Unfortunately by its very nature, perfectionism robs us of that ability. It blocks us from tapping into who we actually are and instead forces us to look only at the things we are not.
Perfectionism pushes you to fear individuality, rather than value it.
Perfectionism intimidates us into believing that we are not only supposed to be operating within the confines of someone else’s reality, but that we are meant to do so in a way that is better than everyone else. Unfortunately, this is a deeply flawed perspective. After all, it is our individuality that allows for us to connect in meaningful ways.
Perfectionism is the ultimate thief of joy.
At the end of the day, life is not meant to be a never ending rat-race. Trudging toward a finish line may feel productive, but if you lose your sense of self in the process- was it really worth the cost? Most of the moments we experience will never end up looking perfect. However, when we operate with the belief that “someday” they may, we set ourselves up for more than just failure. The ones we love and the things we enjoy are what make our lives worth living. Success, especially when achieved by way of inspiration, can incredibly enhance our lives. However, make no mistake that success, regardless of how great, will never replace the joys of true connection. So for the sake of your life, stand tall in the face of perfection, and refuse to allow it to rob you of what matters.