Written By Kirsten Moodie
Why We Need To Stop Holding Out For Perfection
“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”
― Michael J. Fox
It Is Unattainable
Perfection is a simple illusion that we have concocted in our minds. Perfection is just an idea, something that doesn’t exist in the real world. It’s okay to toy with the idea, consider what it would be like to have the perfect life. But that is not real and it will never truly be achievable by anyone. Even the people with the seemingly perfect lives are not as perfect as they seem from the outside. Those people are no different than you, they just are much more skilled at creating a perfect image. If you were to dig deeper or see inside their lives, you would realize that they have their flaws as well. There is nothing wrong with that fact, we all share in our imperfections.
Living your life constantly searching for perfection is a waste of your energy. You will never achieve it because it simply does not exist, it is not real. Perfection is an idea, something that you can spend your life chasing after. Each accomplishment will require another one to obtain the idea of “perfection” that you have in your mind. It is like the greyhounds always chasing after the fake rabbits on the racetrack, they never actually reach them no matter how fast they run. It is a lure that will keep you running forever, never truly getting what you want in life.
It Actually Holds You Back
Constantly striving to achieve perfection can actually hold you back in life. There are so many ways that holding out for something perfect can actually keep you from experiencing something wonderful. You may spend your energy trying to make your actions perfect, and in doing that you refuse to actually make a move. I have spent much of my time not doing certain things because I felt like I was bad at them. I feared not being perfect, because of that I failed to learn something or actually make sincere progress. I was waiting until I could prepare myself enough that I would be perfect the next time I tried. That is the most unreasonable thought I could have possibly had. When I finally began to try those things, I realized that over time I became excellent at them. The only way to grow and become better at something is by practicing and by throwing yourself into it. Wanting to be perfect can often cause an immense fear of failure, which can be rather crippling.
When we want to achieve perfection we often pass up on the possibilities that life has to offer. We may turn down a job opportunity that isn’t quite perfect, but in the long term has immense possibility. That could have been an incredible future, but we turn it down because it just wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t the exact thing we were looking for, and so we walk away. Passing up on these chances in life because we are holding out for perfection, only cripples us and makes happiness that much harder to reach. We need to learn to stop passing up the things that have potential because they aren’t what we deem as perfect.
It Makes You Unhappy
When we constantly strive for perfection, we are never truly happy with ourselves. Wanting to be perfect within yourself, is only a way of hiding behind insecurities. It often comes from putting too much thought into what other people think of us. If we work hard enough to become perfect, we often believe people will no longer judge us. If we never fail and always seem to go above and beyond, people will think of us as perfect. When people see us as perfect we assume that means they will no longer judge us, people will actually want to be around us. The problem is we can never achieve this insane idea of perfection, which will only cause us to become irrationally hard on ourselves. The fact that being perfect is impossible, makes us never quite happy with ourselves. You can never believe you are doing well enough, never truly pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments, not when you are always believing you can do better.
If you were truly happy in your own skin and comfortable with yourself, you wouldn’t be constantly trying to be better. You would be happy with who you are, making improvements when you can, but you wouldn’t feel the need to be perfect. Attempting to achieve perfection often means we are afraid that we need to reach this to become lovable or wanted by others. This is no real way to live your life and can only make you unhappy.
It Ruins Relationships
When we are constantly wanting perfection in our lives, this can often bleed into our relationships. You want to be the perfect person, which means the perfect job, perfect home, perfect friends and the perfect spouse. We may hold back from fully committing to someone because they don’t fit into the cookie cutter image we have in our minds. When you begin to reach certain hiccups in a relationship you may end up wondering if you should just move on from that person. They don’t fit into the checklist that you have in your mind of what a perfect partner should be. So why should you stay with them? They aren’t everything you had always dreamed about, they are flawed. The reality is, no one will ever fit into that ridiculous checklist you have in your mind. Everyone has flaws and in truth human emotion can be a rather confusing thing. This means that people can sometimes appear one way, but make decisions that are entirely opposite to what you expect. Nothing is truly predictable and nobody is perfect.
Searching for someone who fits your idea of perfection is only going to cause you to pass up on opportunities. You may not take a chance on someone because they seem to be outside of what you deem ideal. Because of this image you have in your mind, you may not get to experience this person for who they truly are. Instead of pushing people away because of their mistakes, learn to search for someone whose flaws you can accept. It is important to realize that no one can be perfect, not even you. Waiting for someone perfect can actually prevent you from staying with someone who could make you truly happy.
Learn To Draw The Line
Just because I believe we need to stop striving for perfection, doesn’t mean we should stop progressing. There is a big difference between progress and perfection. One of these two things is completely achievable, while the other is a fanciful idea in our minds. It is a wonderful thing to work hard and strive to achieve our goals in life, as long as we can accept that life can also be a mess. Go ahead and make plans, make goals, search for your happiness, but learn to enjoy the little things as well. Learn to keep yourself fighting for the things you want, while still remembering to take a moment to breathe in your surroundings and enjoy the good things in your life.
There is always going to be something in your life that isn’t exactly what you want it to be. You can’t make yourself perfect, you will always make mistakes in life. The people around you cannot be perfect either, but they are just doing their best as well. We can learn to strive for the best, while still accepting the imperfections in our reality. It is good to dream and hope for something amazing, even push to obtain these dreams. There is a difference between wanting your life to be special and waiting for something perfect. Waiting for perfection, means waiting for forever.