Have you ever felt frustrated with the smallest of things because they did not go as 'perfectly' as you wanted them to happen? If the simplest of situations of imperfections aggravate you already, that might already be a sign that you are, wait for it, a perfectionist.
But is perfectionism a bad thing? Can it be seen as a weakness when in fact, perfectionists only strive for perfection? To what extent is this behavior a good thing, and when does it become a bad one? Let's dive deeper into perfectionism and the shortcomings that go along with it.
One of the basic rules of the universe is that NOTHING IS PERFECT.
Perfection simply doesn't exist…
Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist."
- Stephen Hawking
What is Perfectionism?
Perfectionists want things done in a precise way and want only positive outcomes. If something goes out of the plan, perfectionists tend to feel so bad for themselves that they become too demanding of themselves, too. I know how you feel, since we all have goals in life, it is hard to just slack off and see things as ‘just enough’. Perfectionism creates an illusion of a world where there are only great and perfect outcomes and nothing else. This mentality defeats the person involved and all other aspects of their lives in the long run.
Perfectionist vs. Imperfectionist
To better understand this concept, let's compare and contrast particular traits and characteristics a perfectionist and an imperfectionist possess. Let's enumerate a few:
In a work environment, perfectionists tend to work as much as they can until they meet the standards set very high for themselves. This trait can be a good thing in reaching our goals; however, it results in overfatigue and exhaustion. Perfectionists procrastinate most of the time until they become somewhat satisfied with their work.
On the other hand, imperfectionists understand what being perfect is and what achieving high means. With this, imperfectionists tend to produce work they are proud of and they are more likely to be self-assured. This is because they took their time producing results standard to what is asked of them while being happy with their outcome. They observe and recognize tendencies of becoming a perfectionist, so they try to overcome it right away, avoiding later problems.
There are No Mistakes, Just Lessons
If there is one thing perfectionists avoid, that is making mistakes. They tend to become too hard on themselves whenever they commit mistakes, which for them are unacceptable. Perfectionists feel guilty and shameful about themselves because of these mistakes. As a result, they may have a hard time letting go of these imperfections.
Imperfectionists, however, embrace these mistakes. Don't get me wrong, they, too, feel bad whenever they commit mistakes. What separates them from perfectionists is that they move on quickly after the lessons that need to be taken from this unfortunate situation. Imperfectionists learn to let go of their mistakes relatively faster than perfectionists. Which in turn makes them more hungry in achieving their goals.
Adventure Is Out There!
Imperfectionists love to explore and try new things even if they know nothing about them. With this mantra, they eventually learn and develop new skills to move forward in life. They are filled with curiosity and excitement as they venture to the unknown, only thinking about what they can learn from it rather than what they don't know about it. They often take risks and big leaps just to get to the top.
Meanwhile, perfectionists avoid things they don't know because they fear rejection and may not be good at it. They don't have the sense and thrill of adventure and would rather stay stagnant with things inside their comfort zone. This mentality propagates the fear of the unknown most perfectionists have.
Saying Yes and No
Imperfectionists have a clear grasp of who they are, what they want, and what their aspirations are. After all, they are not afraid to explore and commit errors because they eventually learn from them later. With this being said, imperfectionists are the realest of persons you would ever know. They are not afraid to say 'no' if necessary because they never compromise their authenticity and truthfulness to themselves.
On the other hand, perfectionists always say yes, even if it would compromise who they are and what they can do. They are only concerned about the results, the end goal, and would do anything to achieve the highest achievements possible, even at their own expense. Perfectionists don't savor the moment of success because they are preoccupied with the past and how they screwed up and the future and how they can strive for perfection.
Perfectionists, with their nature only gearing towards perfection, are usually depressed and anxious. Since they are rarely satisfied, they have difficulty getting out of their head, leading to depression and anxiety. This serious mental health issue may lead to worst-case scenarios like insanity and suicide if not taken care of early. Perfectionists are those who easily succumb to the situation when the going gets tough.
On the flipside, imperfectionists know how to embrace each moment's reality and find something positive in it to live a joyful life. They know how to find happiness from every success and achievement, no matter how little or how big they may be. They are the most genuine people you can meet and would even influence you to be the same.
It's Not Too Late
After reading this, if you find yourself having some of a perfectionist's characteristics, it's not the end of the world!!! Perfectionism is only a mindset, so there’s still time and room to improve and fully release this personality trait from your system. Since you are also made aware of what separates perfectionists from imperfectionists, you can learn to slowly gear yourself towards life and the mentality of being imperfect. You can finally embrace your vulnerability as you start accepting who you are and what you can and cannot do.
Knowing your real self is the first step in changing your mindset from the world of perfectionism, and step-by-step, tap your imperfections so that you can be free and be the best version of who you are. Think about it before it's too late. Learn to be perfect with your imperfections.