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The Perfection Paradigm

coaching connection Apr 23, 2018

Do you take pride in your perfectionism? I mean, what could be wrong with striving to be perfect, it's a good thing isn't it? Maybe not, did you know that perfectionism can actually be detrimental to your health and wellbeing?

I have always had the perfectionist trait. I used to think it was something to be proud of, growing up my parents praised me when I was perfect, my teachers were pleased, society ingrained it into me that the only way to succeed was by striving for perfection. When my self esteem was at an all time low I would make sure that my appearance was perfect. I would spend hours getting ready for work or going out with friends, choosing the perfect outfits, matching shoes, bags, make up. I was perfection personified. As long as I looked perfect on the outside no-one would guess the level of imperfection I felt inside. 

Little did I know that my perfectionism trait was actually feeding my low self esteem. The more I tried for the perfect appearance, the more I felt unworthy in myself because I was never perfect.  I was putting so much pressure on myself to obtain an unobtainable goal.  

In the photo above I remember thinking and feeling as though I was fat. I didn't have an eating disorder but a warped body image, I sought my idea of perfection. I thought my boobs were too small. I didn't think I was attractive and I was constantly finding fault in myself. I thought everyone looked better than me. I wasn't perfect. 

Perfectionism is in fact a paradox.

I spent so much time worrying about being perfect that life slipped by unnoticed. I missed out on opportunities, adventures and fun all because I was trying too hard to be perfect.  How is that a perfect life?

How many wasted opportunities have you let slip through your fingers because things weren't perfect instead of seizing the moment and getting out there? Even now I can have an idea and almost persuade myself to not carry it out because I believe it won't be perfect. When I hear that little voice disuading me I jump in with both feet and go for it because I know it is my perfectionism trait kicking in.

To be human is to be imperfect, your freedom is found in your flaws and your imperfections. 

It is much healthier to accept that you will never be perfect. You can do this by admitting your defeats, your shadows, your darkness and your failures.  This way you actually increase your own self esteem. By owning and loving every aspect of your being you stop hiding, you stop pretending to be something that you aren't and you fully accept yourself as a human being. You might even find yourself thinking "I fucked up, fantastic, thank God, I'm human!"