[ Perfectionism in humanity ]

Taken from "The Woman Who Thought Too Much" by Joanne Limburg

There goes the saying “Nobody is perfect”. We have been trying to convince ourselves that it is true. We are not perfect and should not attempt to change the fact. But one way or the other we will tend to fall into the trap of doing everything RIGHT, as if there is an absolute definition of what is right and what is wrong. Countless futile efforts, even to the point of listening to the song “Perfect” by Pink almost every day, have been made to counter this urge to obtain excellence. I guess perfectionism is inborn in humans some humans.

Take an insightful tour around us and we will notice perfectionism of some aspects in humanity. For example, Apple Inc. keeps improving and upgrading its products such that the world cannot keep up with the evolution. True, it wants to stand out in the competitive global market but instead of new products, it has been coming up with similar products but with better features. What for? I assume it aims for perfection. Anyway, I am not buying the new iPad 3. Another rather vague instance is activists who stand strong in their beliefs to change the way the world operates. It, again, requires perfectionists to do so.

The above highlights the so-called positive effects of being a perfectionist. The root of new inventions, technology, and ideas is the endeavor towards perfection. Aim for the stars and be assured that even if you miss you will not fall to the Earth. However, there are the unfavorable outcomes which I have personally been experiencing. I know I am one who adopts this ideology because:

  • I cannot manage to leave out even one word when reading a novel or an article. Every single word is significant for my reading pleasure.
  • I keep changing the phrasing or sentence or structure of the “About” page of this blog if you notice. The thought of it sounding weird or being grammatically incorrect itches me. I hope I will stop doing that.
  • I want to make sure that everything is uniform, like how I arrange my CDs and DVDs collection from the biggest album size being at the back to the smaller ones in front.
  • I cannot stop stroking my newly polished nails with the back of my fingers to ensure that the surface of each nail is smooth.
  • I do not like an extra space in between words in my texts (a single space is perfect) or the lack of it after the comma punctuation. It always has to be like this one, right?
  • I stacked the PB oat pancakes I made for breakfast, using the similar recipe as Carrot Pancake, in a way that is perfectly aligned and I took many photographs of them from different angles to make sure I got the perfect shots.

    Peanut Butter Oat Pancake

  • Etc.

All these, if continued for a long time and become a habit, will eventually lead to depression thinking that we are never good enough. Stop trying to break off the chain of perfectionism. Yes, STOP, you read it right the first time because another saying is valid as well: “The best perfection is imperfection”. Appreciate and accept who you are and just get on with life in this messy world.

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