I have never really thought much about perfectionism. I know that it’s a driving force behind quite a number of successful people in life but I have never really looked at the deeply disturbing side of it : “driving some people off the cliff.”
So, it is ubiquitously known that the mind is one of the most complex parts of the human being. Thoughts, personality, feelings, beliefs and behavior are all shaped by our invisible and incomprehensible minds. I believe that if a person’s idea of perfectionism is not constricted to a safe space (a space in which you can push yourself to reasonable and safe limits), one can easily fall into pits of despair as a result of failing to meet deadlines or accomplish certain goals with 100% success or precision.
Through research and general observation of people, I have come to the solid conclusion that perfectionism, if not confined to certain defined barriers, can destroy a person mentally, physically and emotionally.
Allow me to elaborate.
I had a friend who never left anything to chance. I mean ANYTHING. If she made a mistake while writing, she would tear out the whole page and start afresh. If she colored outside of the line by just a tenth of a millimetre, she would concede defeat and start again all the while frustrated and annoyed. Perfectionists, like my friend, will always go at it again and again, trial after trial, until they attain the “gold standard”.
Now someone might say, “Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Aiming for quality work is not a bad thing at all.” Yes. That is true except for the fact that perfectionists, in my opinion, do not give themselves space to breathe or make mistakes and in being relentless and putting in all their effort into making or doing something perfectly, they end up wasting a lot of time and energy (especially mental energy).
Some people leave themselves no room for mistakes or mediocrity. Everything has to be “just perfect!”. As soon as things start to go off the rails, they trigger a domino effect which begins with beating themselves up mentally which then takes a toll on their emotional well-being and then compromises their physical health in the long run (most likely due to chronic stress)
That’s it for today. I’ll be back with more!
A disclaimer: This post was written based on my thoughts, experiences and conversations that I have had with people.
This post is subject to change in the future and if you have any other thoughts on this, feel free to comment.
Have a lovely day!