“WHAT’S YOUR GREATEST WEAKNESS?”
“I’m a perfectionist.” It’s the response to that infamous job interview question that makes interviewers groan. Parading a strength as a weakness doesn’t really count, right? Doing everything perfectly all the time couldn’t possibly be a flaw, could it? Well, perhaps not, but the reality of perfectionism is quite different. Until a few years ago, I prided myself on my perfectionism, but I also didn’t have many concrete goals. Fast forward to 2017 and my dreams are bigger than ever. I’m aiming high and I want success so badly, but there’s one thing standing in my way. Any guesses? No points for you on that one. Since 2014, perfectionism has done nothing but slow me down. Not convinced? Here are 5 reasons why perfectionism sucks.
PERFECTIONISM IS THE ENEMY OF CREATION.
Perfectionism goes hand in hand with procrastination. If you’re spending all your time worrying about something being perfect, you’re going to feel pretty reluctant to actually get to work on it, lest it fall short of your expectations. Ironically, this usually means ignoring the task until the day before the deadline when you don’t have enough time to create something you’re proud of. This usually provides you with another handy reason to berate yourself.
PERFECTIONISM IS SELF-ABUSE OF THE HIGHEST ORDER.
Perfectionism is essentially self-loathing masquerading as something less offensive. It’s an excuse to criticise yourself at every opportunity, and often ends up as a vicious cycle of ‘shoulds’ and ‘musts’. Mistakes become inexcusable and failure is the ultimate shame. It’s an inner monologue of ‘I must do better’, ‘I should have tried harder’, and ‘I mustn’t let this happen again’. It causes low self esteem, a ton of anxiety and it’s utterly exhausting trying to live up to an idealised version of yourself that will never exist.
PERFECT PEOPLE AREN’T REAL, AND REAL PEOPLE AREN’T PERFECT.
A perfectionist can’t keep it to themselves. Instead, they project their perfectionism onto everything and everybody else, too. Not only do they put pressure on themselves to be perfect, but they expect high standards from others. When expectations fall short, a perfectionist might be overly critical and become reluctant to delegate tasks to others in the future. It’s unfair to expect anybody else to live up to your unrealistic expectations when even you can’t meet them.
FEAR IS ALWAYS LURKING BEHIND PERFECTIONISM.
Perfectionism is centred around fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of failure, fear of making mistakes etc. The list goes on and on. It’s a heavy weight to carry and a lonely way to operate. It makes you reluctant to take risks or seek advice, preferring to stick to what you know and go it alone. Once again, this has negative consequences far more often than not. Expecting perfection from everything you do is a horribly overwhelming way to live and goes hand in hand with depression and anxiety
. Not fun.
THOSE WHO SEEK PERFECTION WILL FIND THEMSELVES UNFULFILLED THEIR WHOLE LIVES.
Finally, if you’re a perfectionist, there’s always something more to be done. Making improvements becomes an infinite task, meaning you’re never happy with the finished result, and therefore, never get a sense of completion from anything in life. Despite what a perfectionist may think, perfection is unattainable, so as long as you keep striving for the impossible, you will never be happy.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
Perfectionism is something I’m still struggling with on a daily basis, so I didn’t want to make an advice post when I don’t have the solution. However, I’m working on it, and there are a few things I’ve learnt along the way. Firstly, setting smart goals is the key to attaining a sense of achievement and completion. Secondly, celebrating mistakes by focussing on what you took from the experience and what you can do better next time will make you less afraid of making mistakes in the future. Thirdly, prioritising certain tasks over others is a way to ease anxiety caused by expecting perfection in everything you do, from making the bed to writing a 10,000 word dissertation. Focus on what’s really important!
WHAT I’M WEARING
Funnily enough, I felt unusually self-conscious shooting this outfit, because it was ‘less than perfect’ in my mind. It’s definitely a step outside my usual style, thanks to the casual, oversized silhouette created by this chunky knit jumper and slinky pink midi skirt. I tend to prefer more clean cut lines and, dare I say it, this feels a little bit too cool for me. However, the muted, feminine colours create a very romantic look, brought alive by that statement crossbody bag. Finished off with rose gold sunnies and some beaten up trainers, it’s a dressed down outfit for those brisk spring days.
SHOP THE POST
Are you a perfectionist? What’s your biggest struggle with it?