How My Perfectionism Is Killing Me
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Health and Wellness

How My Perfectionism Is Killing Me

She died as she lived: stressed out.

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How My Perfectionism Is Killing Me
The Artbo

As of right now, my to-do list is longer than any article that I have ever written. I have projects to complete, assignments to finish, midterms to study for, a scholarship to apply for, and internships to hunt for. And yet I have more.

I am taking 18 credits, and that number will expand to 21 after spring break. On top of overloading myself academically, I am involved with so many clubs and organizations that I often forget to list all of them when asked what all I am involved in on campus. However, whenever I pass up the opportunity to be involved in yet another organization, I feel guilty, as if I am not taking on enough.

And yet, with all of these obligations dangling over me like the blade of a guillotine about to drop, I believe I can do it all. I keep thinking that I can balance academics and activities and a social life, all in excessive amounts, without making sacrifices.

It has gotten to the point that I am starting to suffer in all areas. While I show up to classes and my extracurricular activities, I am not truly present. My lack of organization has resulted in me dropping the ball on multiple occasions now, and I have missed meetings or completed less than satisfactory work. When I do socialize, it is often to fume about everything I am stressed about, which results in more feelings of guilt and stress. I have spent far too many hours curled on my bed, overwhelmed but unable to find the motivation within myself to do anything productive.

Even now, as I type this article, I feel my stomach twisting into a knot of anxiety as I consider all of the things I have to complete within the next few weeks.

I know that I need to change if I want to preserve my happiness, but I do not know if I actually want to. My fear is that if I try to take on an amount that is manageable, that I will not be trying hard enough. If I don’t excel, then how can I distinguish myself from everybody else? If I were to forfeit being a perfectionist, then I would have to confront the terrifying possibility that I am good enough.

I have molded myself around a contradiction. For myself I spin the narrative that I am superhuman, and therefore able to do more than anyone else. However, I think that I have to keep doing more and more until I become worthy enough to deserve affection and care, which every human deserves without having to prove themselves. This streak of narcissism combined with a dash of an inferiority complex is unsustainable, but I do not know another way to exist.

I would never hold anyone to the standards that I have created for myself. If dealing with anyone else, I would tell them to establish healthy boundaries for themselves and find a balance that allows them to be accomplished, yet happy. If one of my friends approached me and informed me that they were overworking themselves, I would tell them that they were good enough and had nothing to prove.

So, I am stuck. I can choose to keep striving toward my unattainable aspirations until I feel that I deserve to be loved and acknowledged, whenever that may be. Or I can decide that I am a normal human being who has limits and boundaries, and attempt to salvage my happiness from there.

What would you choose?

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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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