If you're like me and have a Google Calendar synced with your planner and a running to-do list on your laptop, then you know that sometimes life gets a little hectic. There are so many things to do, especially when you're involved in a lot of student organizations, and sometimes you put so much pressure on yourself to succeed that it actually harms your performance.
Perfectionism is also a cause of many common mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and panic attacks. People who are perfectionists put themselves under a constant amount of stress and are afraid of underperforming. This fear drives them to vastly over-prepare for any challenge that could potentially arise and thus keeps their brains busy thinking of ways they could fail.
Think about it: You've studied for days for an exam and done all the questions and study guides that you could find on the internet, but strangely, when the time comes to take the exam, you're a ball of anxiety, You know you SHOULD know the material — but do you? Was there more you could've done? Should you not have gone out to dinner last night with your friend so you could study?
These are all thoughts that go through a perfectionist's head. Being a perfectionist impacts me in all parts of my life — school, relationships, friendships, etc., and it makes every day a test. You're constantly thinking of ways that you could improve, things you could've done better, things you should've said, and so on, and you forget to reflect on what you have accomplished and will accomplish in the future.
Being a perfectionist also impacts your social life. Being a perfectionist makes you critique everything about yourself, which sometimes makes going out and talking to people a struggle. It also affects your relationships because you silently wonder if there's someone for your partner who's better than you, which can influence your actions.
For me, I have to realize that while I cannot actually be perfect, I can work as hard as I can to achieve a goal. Being constantly busy helps me be productive, and it helps relieve my anxiety when I have downtime (yes, downtime gives me anxiety). Also, sometimes I have to take a step back when I fail at something and realize that I can learn from it and improve for the next time. Perfectionism makes you wildly successful but unable to realize your accomplishments because of an overshadowing of failure.
To anyone who thinks they have to be perfect or that they aren't good enough, you are. You're talented, funny, smart, and you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.