Like many people I am a perfectionist. I like doing the right thing, saying the right thing, and looking the right way. I like being in control and I like being “perfect”. But as time goes on and I’m faced different situations in life I have begun to realize perfection is not attainable.
It's okay to not be perfect because quite frankly nobody is. I think social media has a huge role in creating what society deems “perfect”. When we look at someone's social media profiles we only see what they want us to see. We have no idea how that person is really feeling or how many tries it took them to take the "perfect" picture. We cannot use others social media profiles to measure our own worth, beauty, or success. That is done within us and it takes some practice to figure out what you really want out of your life.
Figuring out what you really want out of your life is scary yet powerful at the same time, and for each of us it happens in our own way. It is scary because the world is such a big place and there are so many options when you open yourself up to them. Yet for the same reason it is also powerful. When you figure out what you want and go for it, it is a mixed sense of relief and accomplishment. You are in charge of your life. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you react and handle those situations. Trust me, it is much easier said than done. It takes practice and patience to be able to look at life this way. I'm still learning how to do it myself. You need to accept what is going on in your life and accept how you handled the situation. When you look back hindsight is 20/20, but it is too late for that. You can only use that information in future situations.
Earlier in the year I read a book called It's Kind Of A Funny Story written by Ned Vizzini. It had been on my to read list for a while and I finally did it during winter break. The book tells the story of Craig Gilner, a student determined to succeed. He focused on getting into a prestigious New York City high school, so he could get into the "right" college, and get the "right" job. The pressure of all these supposedly "right" things gets to him and he checks himself into a mental hospital where he discovers the sources of his anxiety and starts to conquer them. There is this one passage that really impacted the way I think and the way I try to deal with my perfectionism.
It’s true. There is no should haves and would haves. It is a completely valid point to say that things could have turned out much worse than they already did. After checking himself into the hospital and going through therapy, Craig finally figures out what it really takes for him to be happy it is a liberating thing for him. He accepts that life isn’t about being perfect and that it’s okay to make mistakes.
At some point I hope all perfectionists, people with anxiety, people with depression, or people who are hard on themselves learn this. It's a lesson that for some takes time, patience, and practice to implement into their daily lives. For me it is something I still work on doing. At times it is hard and frustrating but in the end I know it will all be worth it.