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Health and Wellness


It's a beautiful thing.

Craig's Art Blog

As a perfectionist, white out is my best friend.

I take twice as long as my friends in organizing notes and doing homework because I see flaws in my work that others don't care to notice. I know it's a big waste of time to rewrite things three times until I get it exactly the way I want, but I can't stand the the anxiety when I know something is out of order. I feel as if the work I'm doing has less value because of that crooked o. (Yeah it bothers you too, right? Oh, and did you notice the the two extra 'the's I inserted in this paragraph? You can't unsee it now.)

It gives me comfort that I'm not the only one who suffers from this condition that's fairly common in my age group. While perfectionism manifests in people in different ways, it typically embodies five traits: high personal standards, the perception of high parental expectations, the perception of high parental criticism, the doubting of the quality of one's actions, and a preference for order and organization.

The desire to be perfect is exasperated by stressful work environments. Our professors expect thesis-level essays in two weeks, our parents want perfect transcripts, and our bosses want our productivity to increase everyday. Even if the world is not conspiring against us, it sometimes feels that way.

I recently realized that I've grown accustomed to stress and even seek it. The logic goes like this: I feel stressed out after I work for a long time, so if I don't constantly feel stressed I'm doing something wrong. However, while stress might be a byproduct of hard work, it is neither a good indicator of it nor a sustainable lifestyle.

Now, whenever I find myself stressing over the nitty gritty details of my work instead of working towards the bigger picture, I take my eyes off my work and take a deep breath. Then I tell myself life is easier, more enjoyable, and thus more beautiful when I am at peace with myself and my work. I even made a little note on the cover of my planner saying, "Find beauty in imperfection" to remind myself that there's no need to live with constant stress and anxiety.

Next time you feel that nasty dose of perfectionism kick in, remind yourself that not every 'mistake' needs to be whited out. All the work you've done, whether you think it's perfect or not, is part of what makes you an individual. It adds a layer of complexity to your personhood and humanizes you--messing up is an essential part of living. And when we take the time to appreciate how far we've come, it's that much easier to move forward.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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