perfectionism ≠ perfection

完璧主義 ≠ 完璧

Have you ever heard about perfectionism? Perfectionism is defined as the personality trait characterized by a person's strive for flawlessness and high standards. Who wouldn’t want to be the person who is successful at everything? The person that is always achieving good results? Growing up I always strived to be a perfectionist because I was convinced that only by setting high standards I could obtain good results.


However, my opinion has changed after my therapist suggested some readings concerning perfectionism to me. I’ve realised that perfectionism does not lead to perfection, rather it is a tendency to believe that everything should be carried out in a perfect manner because any error will result in failure. In my opinion, this attitude is very unhealthy and extremely detrimental for mental health. Of course, striving for excellence doesn’t imply that you are an unhealthy perfectionist. Nevertheless, my new awareness of the dangers of always trying to be perfect inspired me to share with you some reflections that can help us forget about perfection.


High standards are not always a source of motivation:

As I mentioned before, throughout my life I was taught by my family that only those who aspire to be the best and do their best will achieve good results. Since I was young I had convinced myself that there’s always a perfect way to carry out things (whether it concerned work, school, sport etc). Throughout elementary and middle school I was an average student, my performance was mediocre but not terrible. In high school, I began putting more effort and as I studied more my grades slowly went up. Every time I would get a good mark my professors and family members would acknowledge and encourage me. I started to enjoy feeling visible and because I loved that feeling so much I kept pushing myself to be better. At some point in my third year of high school I was the best student in my class, my classmates would often praise me asking me how I could achieve perfect grades. At first, I was flattered by their compliments but after some time I became unmoved by their remarks. Whenever they talked about me I felt like they were talking about someone else. In reality, I didn’t regard myself as perfect, quite the opposite I was always looking for a way to improve, never satisfied about what I was achieving.