May 19, 2022

What’s so perfect about perfect?

Personally and professionally I meet a lot people who long to be perfect.  It sounds great in theory.  To drive for something that by definition, is “complete beyond practical or theoretical improvement.”  Of course, the problem with that is that there is really no such thing as “beyond practical or theoretical improvement.”  Because there is always a way to imagine (or theorize) something could be bigger/better/faster.

Most of us logically know there is no such thing as perfection.  So why do we get hung up on needing things to be perfect?

Lots of reasons.

First, we are taught in school both in overt and covert ways from the time we are children that perfection exist.  At school we have the opportunity to get perfect test scores/grades, awards for perfect attendance, praise for perfect behavior.  

Ads, tell us about, “the perfect night’s sleep” or the “perfect way to express your love” or the “perfect solution for something.”  Perfection is a moving target, especially when it comes to sleep.  How many people like to sleep the same way?!  So how can a company guarantee that everyone will have a perfect night’s sleep with their product?

Our families have stories about the perfect job/career, vacation, person to date, friends to play with, places to live.  Not to mention, perfect behavior and for most of us it was made perfectly clear when our behavior was out of line from that.  

Social media – DUH!  I don’t think I need to expand that much.  Just by being on social media, we open ourselves up to the comparison game where we compare ourselves to others and tell ourselves we aren’t doing well in some area as a result.  

Friends do it too!  While, they typically don’t mean to do it, our friends will take out their insecurities on us by projecting perfection onto us.  

But… control.

The single biggest reason we seek perfection from ourselves is a desire for control.  Hear me out!  We’ve all had our heart broken, been embarrassed, was bullied or kicked out of a friend group and we all have insecurities.  Our brains are built to seek pleasure and to avoid pain.  So when something really painful (both physical pain as well as emotional/mental pain) happens, our brain creates a systems report that names the injury and gives a reason why the injury was caused.  

This pain story is often written around our insecurities.  If the person I like doesn’t like me back and I love myself well, the system report looks like;

“Ouch!  I wish that person liked me back.  Oh well, I’ll find someone who does.”

If the same thing happens and I don’t love myself well, the system report will probably be more like; 

“Of course they don’t like me.  Why would they?  I’m not good enough.”

When your story looks more like the second one.  You brain goes into over drive to find what part of you was not good enough and try to route it out.  Unfortunately, this is rarely accurate and often leads to more heartbreak.

We seek perfection as an attempt to avoid heartbreak/heartache. There is nothing wrong with self improvement and wanting to do well. The problem comes when there is no end and no self compassion for the outcomes that are less than “beyond practical or theoretical improvement.”  

As always, I’m here.  If you are ready to work on having the life you want, call me and let’s get started!

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram