It is no surprise that the strive for a better self is increasingly veering off the edge of self-improvement and colliding with the detrimental dead-end struggle toward perfectionism. Images of perfect bodies and livelihoods are spewed across social media platforms, preying on both the vulnerable and the self-assured at different paces.
An Obsession With “Perfection”
Previously, ‘I’m a perfectionist’ was the automatic answer to the interview question ‘what’s your biggest flaw?’, a coy double-edged response that was really intended to show the potential employer that you work hard and well. The darker reality of the struggle towards the unattainable perfect is a road to dissatisfaction and the frequent meetings with failure.
Perfectionism is less a growth-oriented approach and more an excuse to go extremely hard on yourself. We can rarely outrun the tumultuous and average destiny of personhood yet beat ourselves up when we fail to meet standards that no one else is meeting anyway.
Beneath it all is our twenty-first-century inability to just do nothing. We are constantly distracting ourselves with stimuli even in our downtime and frankly we no longer know how to be bored. Life moves so fast, with access to all our wants and desires at the touch of a button, so not having it all when you technically can is disheartening. All these resources, combined with the social media illusion that everyone is doing better than ourselves, cause damage to our wellbeing when we feel inadequate and behind. It’s difficult to celebrate our own achievements when they appear substandard to others’ online.
Stop Trying To Do Everything
Pausing for breath, taking a day off or accepting we mess up as much as the next person are not common traits of the times, yet they deserve mandatory priority.
You are doing something important when you are doing nothing at all. We deserve to rest and do purposeless things just because we want to. They are necessary to grow and flourish in a manner that accepts the downfalls along the path to your own version of success. Strive to be the best you can be within reason. Work and play and rest are all essential to a life filled with meaning, meaning which won’t be found in the like-count on Instagram pictures.
While social media intends to connect us, it can sometimes perform the opposite, pitting us against each other in a competition to be the best, starving us of relaxation and confidence in being who we naturally are. Perfect doesn’t exist, but the best version of everybody does, revealing itself when the averageness of humanity is accepted.
Do you feel like you are constantly striving for perfection? Let us know over on our Instagram.
Words by Niamh Elliot Sheridan