Friday, January 7, 2011

Perfect, I think not...

I want to pose a question, as inspired by a discussion I had yesterday- Are we experiencing an era of perfectionism globally?

Today I read an article in one of the free mags you find in health food stores and the writer spoke about personal issues often being a part of something bigger than the individual, a symptom of a global issue. So imagine the Universe has a psyche, just as we each do, would the Universe be grappling with and playing with perfectionism right now? I do think that there's a fair chance.

Up until I went to University I thought perfectionism was a 'good' word and being labelled a perfectionist was an acheivement. I think that there's others who probably think like this right now, either openly or secretly. There are many people who like to be known for their high standards. If there was no such thing as perfectionism I think we'd see cosmetic surgery and cosmetics sales dwindling. In fact, I think we'd see a whole lot of consumerist behaviour cease. How much of our consumption of 'goods' is an attempt to satiate our inner perfectionist?

I know that I am tempted all the time, I definitely deal with the inner drive for perfectionism, even though I now feel like it's a dirty word. Fir example, I wish that we had a new doona cover to put on the bed because it would just make the room so much better, possibly nearly perfect....well maybe with a few pillows and a throw and a rug for the floor.... You get the gist of it, my bedroom is not going to be 'perfect' because there's really no such thing, I would still manage to find fault with it. That's the toughest part about perfectionism, those who have it also have an equally strong inner critic, always finding fault. However I could easily spend $1000 trying to acheive the unnatainable in my bedroom alone.

So what is the antidote to perfectionism? I am not too sure. I guess it's probably acceptance, acceptance of ourselves just the way we are. I think that a need for creating perfect circumstances outside of ourselves stems from feeling that something within us is just not quite right. As I write this, I get the sense that the more we love ourselves the more we would find that our desire for perfect aesthetics and circumstances would ease.

 I would truly love to hear your thoughts on the topic, so please do leave a comment. I'm just beginning my investigation, because I'm fascinated by it and I'd certainly love to let go of that niggling feeling that perfectionism creates in my body in attempt to keep motivating me to be more, do more, buy more and have more. I know I'm not the only one feeling the niggle...


  1. Interesting thoughts. I know I am a perfectionist... ever since we moved back to Melb from Broome the state of our garden (overgrown) has been bothering me. I kept the niggle in check until all the unpacking was finished (which took 3 days)- but then I woke up at 5am the next day knowing I HAD to prune the hedge.

    On one hand, my tendencies get stuff done. I am great at churning through lists and meeting daedlines. On the other, I'm becoming aware- as you are- that there is a price to be paid. Next time I want to be able to think "stuff the hedge" and go back to sleep... Would love to know how, though.

  2. Yes I know what you mean, it gets to a point where the discomfort of being aware of the imperfection becomes greater than the discomfort of having to give up what we'd really like to and get the job done.

    I know that we often believe that a niggle or similar is helpful in providing motivation, but must we only be motivated through discomfort?
    I might be being idealistic about this, but what if, for example, you were motivated by the love of gardening (the hedge included) or a love of aesthetics (which I suspect may have been a driving factor for you Kylie). I'd prefer to be motivated in this way rather than because my mind has decided something is unacceptable in it's current state. There's less anxiety attached. Perhaps re-framing like this could help ease perfectionism, with a dose of good ol' CBT. No real answers here, but some thoughts to mull over.


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