An Alternative Perfectionist Attitude

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‘This is my earlier work’, that is how I want to considering my work because everything that happens now, in the present, is already part of the past… in the future. Therefore, I interpret that to mean that everything I experience and do in the present is already part of history.

This is not an excuse to stop caring, not have high standards or hold myself accountable for what I do, but it is a logical concept that keeps me anxiety free, at a healthy distance from the aspects of perfectionism that are unhelpful.

I remind myself that I will keep learning and improving, that I should not regard my work and other parts of life with a ‘be all or end all’ outlook.

I now accept that I cannot be perfect because perfection is relative. What one person might consider perfect, another person would surely disagree. I read a quote while trying to find an image for this piece, it said that we should not strive for perfection but for excellence. I liked the way it sounded, then I realised that actually that person had replaced the word perfection with an equally contentious and elusive term.

However, being a perfectionist should not always be seen as a con since there are some major pros to being one. Being a perfectionist means that a person sets and expects a higher standard than most, this can result in them often having a good work ethic, producing and/or doing something to a high standard, they remind and inspire us to aim to do our best.

The main issue that I think most perfectionists have, at times, is that an expectation can often be set so high that it is unrealistic or typically requires painstaking effort to attain. What is wrong with putting ‘painstaking effort’ into what you do? Nothing really, unless it causes a person constant distress. A perfectionist sometimes will push themselves extremely hard, nearing their breaking point, instead of considering a slightly simpler option in their pursuit of perfection.

What I have learnt from my own perfectionist ways, is that being a perfectionist can be good, as long as I do not get caught up in the negative aspects of it. I am working on appreciating this experience that we call ‘life’, I get off my automatic mode as often as I can to enjoy moments, and I love seeing the humour and ridiculousness in things that I used to take oh so seriously.

– By Sylvia Ikua

Featured image of blue sky from a window view, posted on Instagram by @SylviaWik, 2016.

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