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Dear Journal: Perfectionism

August 01, 2018 2 min read

Today I read an article on the topic around "perfectionism".  The desire to be perfect is something most of us can relate to.  As I begin to look deeper into myself and the people around me.  I noticed the growing numbers of people struggling to match unreachable ideals and layers of socially prescribed perfectionism is what we internalize.  

When I was growing up I never felt perfect. Not because my parents never told me I wasn't.  They always told me I was their perfect child.  The imperfection came from socially prescribed and self-imposed perfectionism was where I obtained most of my self-worth.  The self-worth in my eyes was unrealistic and I remember wanting to do better than all my peers growing up.  In the end, I was seeking approval not from myself but from others around me.  

I began to redefine my goals and practiced self-compassion. Instead of self-castigation when we haven’t achieved success, it’s important to be compassionate to ourselves. Often this competitive mindset tends to turn into a high level of self-criticism when we haven’t succeeded. We can force ourselves into higher goals, which then we subsequently don’t meet and there’s a negative spiral.  People with higher levels of perfectionism will typically be ambitious, hard-working, and diligent. A little bit of self-compassion when things don’t go well will help keep you that way.

By definition, perfect is an impossible and unrealistic goal. Have an awareness that we can strive for more desirable traits, such as diligence, flexibility, and perseverance. In the work setting, it’s important for managers to recognize if they see someone exhibiting these traits and show compassion. Focus on the learning and development aspects of the project rather than a missed outcome.

Throughout the years I've learned to remind myself of my previous successes and failures.  What I've learned from those experiences is patience, self-love, and determination.  I'm still practicing those things till this day.  



Patch Ashley

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