Is Perfection Possible? Tips to Overcome Perfectionism
As perfectionists, we tend to think that perfection is in fact something that is attainable and feasible. However, life is not that simple. The idea of perfection might just be something that solely exists in our heads, and this idea is ever-changing. One day we might think that perfection means getting our dream job, but when we actually get this job, it might not be what we wished for. So, we change our goals, and once again try to strive for this abstract concept of perfection. And, the never-ending strive for perfection continues. So, let's back up and ask ourselves: is perfection even possible? And, if it is not, then why do we try so hard to achieve it?
What Perfectionists Believe
If you are a perfectionist, you most likely believe that there is such a thing as perfection. You probably think that there will be a moment in life when you are perfect and every aspect of your life is perfect. For example, you might think that you will reach a point when you are completely successful and fulfilled with every aspect of your life. A moment when you have received all the promotions that you wanted, you have completed all your goals, and achieved every item of your long to-do list.
So, you probably think that there is such a perfect destination in your horizon. You believe that you will reach a moment of utter inner peace and love, and that at this moment there will be no more struggle. That when you reach this point, the struggle will cease to exist and you will be perfectly happy and content. As beautiful and idyllic as this sounds, the hard truth is that it is simply not feasible, and these thoughts might even be counterproductive for your mental health and even your relationships. So, let's look into whether attaining perfection is even possible.
Is Perfection Possible and Attainable?
Perfectionism wants you to believe that there is such a place of perfection where struggle stops and you feel in utter peace and harmony. But, the problem with these perfectionist thoughts is that they are actually telling you that life is this polar thing where you are either not good enough or you are perfect. So, anytime you are not perfect, it means that you are not good enough. And, if you are not good enough, you of course need to strive for perfection.
So, in the perfectionist mind, you are either perfect or not-good-enough. However, there is a flaw with this mindset. While your perfectionism tells you that perfection does in fact exists, this mindset is also the one that makes you move your ending destination and goals every time you are about to reach them. Every time you are moving closer to your goal, there is this gnawing feeling that you are not perfect enough yet, and therefore, you create an even more unattainable, perfect goal. So, you ultimately never actually reach your 'perfect' destination.
As you can see, this is the perfectionism trap. It makes us believe that there is such a thing as perfection, but it never allows us to feel that we have reached it. So, life turns into this infinite treadmill or hamster wheel where we are running all the time trying to attain perfection, only to never achieve it as we never allow ourselves to be satisfied.
What Perfectionism Is Really About
If you are a perfectionist, you might think that you are simply striving for perfection. However, this is not entirely true. With perfectionism, we are looking for what comes after the perfection is achieved. We are striving for the feeling that comes after the perfection is attained. And, this feeling is acceptance.
As perfectionists we might feel that if we reach our perfect destination, then we will be accepted by others. We believe that only then we will be seen, understood, and validated. In a nutshell, what we really seek is acceptance, not perfection. We idolize perfection because we think that only if we reach perfection we are going to receive the love, praise, understanding, and acceptance from others.
How Can We Overcome Perfectionism
Instead of striving for perfection, setting unrealistic goals, torturing ourselves, and trying to find something that does not exist, we can try to directly achieve what it is that we really want. That is: acceptance, love, and connection.
We can learn to accept ourselves by practicing self-acceptance on a daily basis. There are many resources out there that can help us become more accepting towards ourselves. It is simply about appreciating who we are at this moment and enjoying our journey, instead of focusing solely on our destination.
We can also try to make space for what is happening in the present moment, instead of always looking towards the future. We can do this by practicing different mindfulness techniques such as mindfully walking in nature. When we try to make space for what is happening in the present moment, we take life as it is, we appreciate our growth and progress, without getting overwhelmed by all the things we are yet to achieve.
Lastly, if what we really seek is the love and validation from others, we can try to better connect with those around us. We can try to foster authentic connections with people that love us for who we are, not for who we want to be. If we are feeling insecure, we can voice our worries and needs to those around us and feel the validation without the need to be perfect.
Nobody is perfect, and nobody will ever be perfect, we must try to accept ourselves for who we are and surround ourselves with people that appreciate and love us, flaws and all.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that there is no such thing as perfection. The concept of perfection is something that we create in order to keep ourselves busy and try to achieve an unattainable standard that does not exist. And, as perfectionists, we do not really seek perfection itself, we seek validation, acceptance, and love from others. With different techniques and daily practices, we can try to unlearn our perfectionist mindset and foster more self-acceptance.
If you are wondering what perfectionist tendencies you struggle with, we suggest you take a look at our free guide, there you can learn what unhelpful thoughts are getting in the way of living a happy and fulfilling life.
I hope this article offered you some helpful insights. Throughout your self-development journey, please always remember, you are not alone. Millions of people struggle with perfectionism and we can all learn how to foster a more mindful life. If you ever need a listening ear or helping hand, here at AntiLoneliness we are always happy to help. Take care.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.