So why do so many of us feel the need to drive in this lane towards perfection? Are these expectations doing us more harm than good?
The term Perfection is defined among other things as, ‘the action or process of improving something until it is faultless.’
So how does this definition relate? Well the reality is, there is no such thing as perfection. Let’s just take a moment to reflect on this a little further. Let’s begin with evolution itself.
Irrespective of what we all believe in, the reality is we all came from a unique place. If the human race was supposed to be perfect, then why are all so different? Why aren’t we all walking around as a carbon copy of ourselves?
That fact is, we can’t and frankly impossible for so many reasons some of which I will not explore in this paper. So then why is society forcing this unrealistic anxiety in each and every one of us to be the same? And why are we all confronted with questions as kids about our career choices with the hope that we all become doctors or lawyers?
Let’s analyse this more closely to better understand what this actually means.
For some of us, we fall victim to these higher standards and expectations that society practices on us making us feel excessively self-critical – and when we don’t reach the peak of the expectations, it starts to create problems.
But is it any wonder today’s modern sports players or up and coming talent across any field, society is full of self-critical, perfection-seeking people?
Just turn on your social media feed. Scroll through the endless photos and posts that are so often accompanied by hashtags: #blessed #love #nofilter and they go on and on. And soon enough – for many people out there, teens in particular – they start comparing themselves to all those images of happy, joyful people on holidays, all those people happily sweaty from their latest workouts, those in what seem to be the most loving relationships, in the cleanest houses, with the most well-pruned gardens, driving the most expensive cars, with their fulfilling jobs, celebrating in the most glamorous locations and then come home to their mundane ‘routine’ lifestyle.
So then I ask, why do we compare ourselves with what isn’t reality and then can’t help but despair because in comparison, our lives are not so picture perfect?
As a marketing professional, I would somewhat agree that social media – along with the unreal images and messages portrayed by advertising – contributes to the harmful pursuit of perfection.
It brings this constant downward comparison that their life isn’t as together or as good because they’re not as popular, or as smart. And what perfectionists tend to do in this instance, is to downplay their achievements, but when they don’t achieve, they really focus on that intently and really beat themselves up over it, so they spend a lot of time focusing on that. However, it’s not just advertising and social media that fuels the young generation towards perfectionism its all the other things they need to worry about such as; housing affordability, competition for well-paid jobs, increased workload, looming deadlines and life in general.
As a 40-something year old professional woman, I know firsthand that there are a lot more pressures than there were 30 or 40 years ago - particularly in terms of attaining and achieving. I am constantly surrounded by perfectionist tendencies. People around me are constantly looking for that next big thing to conquer and do well at and it’s hard for them to accept anything less than that.
My view is ‘being ambitious’ isn’t a dirty phrase. Channeled correctly, it’s the motivator to a satisfying life.
How does all this all relate to the Harvey Weinstein factor? I will post my thoughts tomorrow.
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