The Pitfalls Of Perfectionism
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Student Life

The Pitfalls of Perfectionism

Holding yourself to a standard that is by definition, unattainable, does NOT make you #goals.

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How many of us describe ourselves as a perfectionist? How many of us wish to be like our friend, one we would consider as perfect?

Maybe, just maybe, you think you don't necessarily label yourself as someone who strives for nothing less than perfect in every aspect of life. However, I would argue that everyone has certain perfectionists tendencies in at least one area.

Setting goals for yourself and dedicating your time and resources towards achievements is honorable and completely healthy. On the other hand, not recognizing when you have achieved a success because it fell short of perfection is not a good mindset to put yourself in. It forces you to look down upon yourself, even if you aren't completely aware of it. For example, if you made it to the Olympics and ended up winning silver, you should not criticize yourself for failing to win gold. Any achievement is still an achievement.

Similarly, many of us are aware that trying new things and taking risks means that we might fail at first, or not be able to do something perfectly the first time around. Knowing this, we simply avoid trying at all and stick to what we know, what we're comfortable with. Many of us claim that we are "procrastinating" and joke about it to ease the anxiety we feel around the subject, but acknowledging that beginning a new journey will be a rocky road, rather than a linear line to success. This is vital to your mental health.

My theory is that there are many different types of perfectionists. Some students strive for perfect grades, some women strive for perfect body types, and some millennials work for the perfect Instagram feed. Personally, I am not someone who has to have an organized room and color-coordinated outfit (the OCD type perfectionist). I happen to lean towards a perfectionist-mindset in grades, fitness, and relationships. Many people think being a perfectionist would be ideal because at least if you are aiming for perfect, you probably at least end up falling close to that standard, right?


I have found that if I won't be able to write the perfect paper in a subject that I am very familiar with, I procrastinate when it comes to starting it because I anticipate that I might have to ask for help. This would then require that I acknowledge my shortcomings. If I am not able to have a perfect workout, I will skip the gym altogether. If I am dating someone and anticipate that a relationship with this person would eventually involve compromising the ideal "couple" I envision in my head, I tend to "ghost" them (I know I know, I hate me too) rather than addressing the feelings I am having in a conversation.

The truth is that nothing perfect exists; not in nature and certainly not in the man-made world. The definition of perfect corresponds to an abstract concept. If you think about it, there will always be something bigger and better. The idea of perfect proves impossible in most aspects.

The people you see with "perfect" grades, boyfriends/girlfriends, or bodies, are more likely than not, neglecting some other part of their life. You do not have to break a personal record every time you go to the gym, make the highest grade on every exam, or take the cutest pictures to prove that your relationship is ideal.

Give yourself credit for success, and acknowledge that you are doing the absolute best given the circumstances you are in.

You can't be perfect, but you can always be original.

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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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