The Flaws In Perfection

By definition, a perfectionist strives for perfection and to be the best, either at exams, sports, their job…  Such a goal seems virtuous, but there are suggestions that it can, in fact be harmful.

Perfectionism can actually be a bit of paradox.  Perfectionists have really high standards but can often appear dysfunctional because in trying to be achieve such standards, they can rarely meet any goal they set.  The perfectionism becomes a burden.

Take an example.  You see a beautiful sunset, but just to the side you see a crane on a building site.  You can lose the beauty of the moment because it’s not quite perfect.

Personally, I’ve noticed this with serial daters.  I’ve mentioned in the past about soulmates.  I am actually romantic enough to believe in the idea of such a thing, but I believe that you only see your soulmate at the end of the relationship. I think some people, though, look for perfection at the beginning.  They find someone who appears to be what they’re looking for and who ticks all the boxes, so they’ll start dating and things go OK.

Then comes an argument.  The illusion of perfection is shattered.  Some people will work past it, while the perfectionist will be constantly on the look out for something better; there will always be another chance to find that perfection.  A perfectionist becomes judging because they’ll always be looking at the things that are wrong.  They won’t be happy with 99%.

However, they don’t only judge others, but become acutely aware of the judgement of others.  Going back to relationships, I’ve been in one where I was made to feel that I wasn’t good enough because the other person would never introduce me to their friends.  We only went out exclusively as a couple or with my friends (unless it was special occasions) and it made me feel like I was in some way embarrassing for not being quite the perfect person she wanted me to be in the eyes of others, and that would have reflected badly on her.

The search for perfection is distracting, because of the constant search for flaws and that constant judging.  I’m all for learning, but in analysing to the level of perfection we’re reviewing every decision we’ve ever made in the past and worried about what the future will offer.  As such, I wonder if that means a perfectionist can ever be happy now.

Baby, why don’t you hit me with lightning,
So I can bottle it up and save it for a rainy day,
Baby, you know this loving is frightening,
But it’s only calm before the tempest gets on it’s way.

We could be the perfect storm,
I feel it coming and it won’t be long,
We could be the perfect storm,
So let it rain.

Baby, why don’t you show me your thunder,
So I can put it on the shelf and dust it when the sky goes black,
Baby, your loving makes me wonder,
If I step outside will I ever feel the need to turn back.

Perfect Storm by The Strypes

Comments 3

  1. Barbara Fisher

    What a great post! None of us are perfect. I believe the key is first accepting our own flaws, or another way to say it is being comfortable in our own skin, so that if someone doesn’t accept us, we are still okay. It’s their loss. It’s not easy getting there, but as we grow older we do.

  2. Marie Djapou

    This was a great read! I think all of us are uncomfortable with at least one aspect of our body and this is due to the influence of others-mainly social media. What is deemed ‘popular’ may be difficult for many of us to obtain so the strive for perfection may never be accomplished but also the ever changing world is an aspect that makes that goal difficult to achieve.

    • Michael

      Hi Marie, sorry for the late reply! For some reason your comment went in to my spam so I missed it for a while. Problem now sorted anyway.

      You’re exactly right. Perfection changes when you’re always on the look out for something better, and that can be influenced by many things not least social media. I know it feels like a cop out, and I’m not trying to say that you should always just be happy with what you have, but I sometimes think people can’t just be happy when they’re always thinking that they could be happier.

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