In an interview between Oprah and Dr. Brené Brown, vulnerability researcher and storyteller, these words were expressed. And I'd like to respond respectively, as a perfectionist, life isn't easy. Life actually isn't as perfect as we'd like it to be, and I believe that fact is what drives us to the point of madness that only we know how to come to terms with. This is the life of a perfectionist.
As perfectionists, we set incredibly high standards for ourselves and for multiple reasons. We know the down sides to being this way when things don't work out--we deal with feelings of rejection, disapointment, and ultimately self doubt--but we continue to be this way anyway. Because for perfectionists, self-dout is a deeply engrained behavior.
As perfectionists, we're afraid. We're afraid of starting new projects, going off on new ventures, possibly making the wrong life decision, choosing a life partner, making a permanent commitment and sometimes even conversing with others--and each of them share this common denominator: fear of failing and ultimately resulting in imperfection. It makes us completely indecisive, stressed and leaves us confused and frustrated with ourselves.
As perfectionists, we have a fear of not amounting to anything. Very few of us end up becoming what we drew in crayons when we were five. But whoever we are now, it's highly unlikely that we have ended up as who we thought we'd be. As perfectionists, we need to learn to come to terms with that. We struggle with the greatest notion of not ever being good enough. And if in the unfortunate event that our vision for our future is unclear, a perfectionist will have the most insecurities about every life decision going forward.
As perfectionists, we hate the one thing that makes us human; making mistakes. We know reaching perfectionism is not possible as humans but we want to go against that logic. We already have it set in stone in our minds that we need to be the best in everything we involve ourselves with. In result, we are incredibly hard on ourselves when our comings are short of what we expect. We don't allow ourselves to truly appreciate our accomplishments because even if to others our accomplishments were good enough, to us it could have been better.
As perfectionists, we aren't okay with coming in with second best. We may apply for a highly competitive position and make it through all of the rounds of advancements, yet we don't make it through as the final choice. Though we should be grateful for making it as far as we did, we don't believe it was good enough. What a waste of time to work so hard and only come second best. As a perfectionist, we consider that a complete failure.
As perfectionists, we tend to be critical of others. It's a defense mechanism we possess that causes us to reject in others what we can't accept in ourselves. These strong feelings come from having this idealized vision of a perfect person and life. It's a menacing filter we can't seem to lift off of reality. We are either not easily impressed by what someone else offers or we put someone on a very high pedestal. Perfectionists know no grey area. We like black and white and exact estimations.
Life as a perfectionist is no where near perfect, but as every perfectionist knows, we do it to ourselves. But you see, despite all the negative results of thinking this way, being hard on ourselves provides us with the oddest comfort. It's just how we are and if we ever strived to be anything less, I think that would be much more detrimental to our health. So if you know someone who is a perfectionist, let them be. There is no use in trying to change them because it's never going to happen. And if it does, you do not want to know the aftermath of the monster you created. Because like I said before, perfectionists don't know what lies in the grey area. You will only get both extreme sides of the spectrum. And if you are a perfectionist yourself, always strive to be the best version of yourself, but please also remember to be kind to yourself.
Photograph by Johannes Huebl