What is Perfectionism? According to Webster’s Dictionary, perfectionism is a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable. A perfectionist is a person who has this characteristic.
Everywhere in this wonderful world of ours, perfectionism is regarded as good and desirable while imperfection is deem as bad or negative. Everybody wants everybody else to be perfect. Bosses want their employees to be flawless on the job. Parents want their kids to be the best. Perfectionists want their work and themselves to be perfect.
Since it is so strongly regarded as being positive, is perfectionism really an absolute or universal value? In my opinion, it is not.
To me, it is relative and is born of human frailty. Perfection is an idea of a perceived ideal state of affairs. However, things are the way they are. For every circumstances, the truth is what is at each instance. Perfection and imperfection are therefore merely attached values.
I am not suggesting that perfectionism is not good. I am suggesting that perhaps perfectionism can cast a controlling net over our expression of happiness. One can surely attain happiness with or without being a perfectionist. To be a perfectionist, on the other hand, leaves very little room for one to accept and love oneself unconditionally when a desired goal is not met. And when our desires are not met, we feel unhappy or cannot be fully satisfied.
However, the truth is we only have each moment of the present moment to live in. By being a perfectionist, our mind will be forever planning and thinking about the future or lamenting about what went wrong in the past. Because of these tendencies, many perfectionists are unable to feel satisfaction because in their perception they never seem to do things good enough to warrant that feeling of contentment.
From this, we can see a paradox of life, which is:
How can one have peace, self-love, and joy when one is a perfectionist?