The strive for perfection is timeless and elusive. We all want to do our best but having expectations built on perfectionism can end up being restricting and leading to tunnel vision. And at worst they can lead to bad decisions and burn-out.
Being able to let go of lofty, impossible perfection can help you see life through a different lens. Throwing out the need to prove something to yourself and to others at all times means that you can rid yourself of ridiculous self-imposed expectations you wouldn’t dream of having for others.
So, why have these expectations for yourself?
Drive the latest car, go to the best restaurants, have rich parents, have the perfect partner. It sounds perfect, right?
But is it really perfection? Do these things guarantee happiness and fulfilment? Probably not and the dogged effort to maintain them can be mentally and physically exhausting.
Fear Drives Perfection`
At its core, perfectionism is fuelled by fear. Fear of what happens if you fail or don’t get the result you wanted. Fear about what to tell your family and friends if you fall short. The fear of not being good enough can thus be completely overwhelming.
It’s completely understandable to feel fear too. Our society is a pressure cooker after all, where we’re acutely aware of arbitrary milestones and targets we feel like we should be reaching. Money, success, followers, kids, women (men), cars – whatever metric it is, we can feel a failure or weird if we’re not living up to what we think society expects.
Even when you’re achieving success externally, this doesn’t mean you’ll feel internally happy. The fear that’s driving your perfection is built around societal pressure and expectations and often there’s a clash between what you think society wants from you and what you truly want to achieve.
The most outwardly ‘successful’ people can still be unhappy. They’re busting a gut every day to try and maintain their successful lifestyle, but it still doesn’t seem enough.
Why is that? Perhaps it’s because their version of success and the goals they’re aiming for never really came from them at all.
It’s what they think they should be doing, not what they want to be doing.
Pressure and fear designed their path. And not feeling good and fulfilled in the perfect life you’re trying to achieve makes it difficult to see and identify what it is that you actually want to do.
I entreat you then to crash through the limiting idea that society defines your goals and objectives. What are your values? What do you believe in? What drives you? Look at the world differently and remove unrealistic goals and focus on using the effort that it takes to maintain perfection for working on being your true self.
When you start making changes and take actions that align with your inner value system and passions, you’ll feel authentic and confident. Trying to be something you’re not is exhausting mentally, so try to make progress and make decisions that are based on what you actually believe in.
Letting go of perfect can help you to manage your expectations in a healthy way and look for ways of living that offer true authentic accomplishment.
What I really think is worthwhile is learning to accept. Learning to accept that anything other than perfect is absolutely fine. Once you learn this lesson, your life just got a whole lot happier.