Growing up, I have always been hard on myself. I wanted to work at my best ability in everything that I did, whether it was in school or my hobbies. I created an imaginary competition in my mind. It wasn't a competition with other people, but more of a competition with time and the progress I would make. I started finding myself wanting to strive for perfection. As I grew older and saw the idea of "perfection" surrounding everyone, I started to make it my goal to be as perfect as I could with school, hobbies, relationships, and life.
Striving for perfection started to adapt in my work ethic and academics. I wanted to be my best at everything that I did, not because I wanted to be the best in my class, but because I didn't want to give 50% of everything that I was doing. At that time, I felt like it's either I don't do it or I give it my all. Being the naive person that I was, giving my all meant being perfect. With the constant pressure from the people around me, including reminders that I had to be do my best to get somewhere in life, I told myself that it was unacceptable if I wasn't the best.
This shaped me to be the person that I am today, but it also opened my eyes. I realized that being or even striving to be "perfect" had its pros and cons. Yes, I was productive and efficient with my time. I gave the extra effort on top of my 100% on everything that I did, even on the things I didn't feel the need to because I wasn't interested. However, I still did it because I told myself I wasn't doing what I needed to do if I didn't give it my all. This took a toll on my health, physically and emotionally. I was so focused on being "perfect" that I didn't let myself breathe for being who I am naturally.
I may have succeeded in some aspects in life, but I failed taking care of myself. Now how "perfect" can I be without being in good health? It started to drain me out mentally. I found myself that I would crack under pressure more easily than usual. I found myself being too disappointed in myself when I would make mistakes. I found myself comparing what I do with other people who I viewed as "perfect." I started to lose a sense of myself. It started from being hard on myself, being the best that I could be for myself, to striving to being perfect and being someone that I wasn't.
Today, I am someone who realized that me trying my best is not striving for perfection, or coming close to it. It is about me accepting who I am as a person, what I am capable of doing, and performing it at MY best ability. It is not a scale compared to other people who I think are "perfect." It is a scale of myself. And ever since I have accepted this, I've come to peace with my mind. I've stopped with the never-ending battles in my mind of not being good enough. I've stopped getting the stomach pains whenever I would not see me performing at a perfectionist level. I've stopped losing myself to the idea of perfection, and I've began to love myself for who I am. I've accepted that I am who I am for a reason. I am my own kind of person. I am the person that creates the "perfect" level of myself, and to me, that is me working on aspects of my life while continuing to be happy with myself and who I am.
Perfectionism has a positive and a negative side. Like everything in life, there's always a good and bad. Too much of a good thing can be bad. In my eyes, I think the idea of being "perfect" is toxic to me, and I cannot be happier that I've stopped having doubts and concerns over mistakes and feeling pressured to be perfect.