The Effect of Perfectionism

Perfectionism crushes self-esteem.

It’s the natural result of expecting unblemished excellence. Repeatedly falling short of an unattainable standard shreds paper-thin confidence.

Your wounds are far more severe because they are self-inflicted.

Your scars run deep, hidden because they arise from violent slashes from within. You cut away all that is good with surgical precision thinking you are bad. When you look in the mirror, you can only find more reasons you’re unworthy.

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Your perception becomes your reality, all because you measured yourself in hindsight. You stacked up every step along the way and figured out all the wrong turns…after they happened. Like the finest armchair quarterback, you go about dissecting every instance where you might have gone a different direction, forgetting an important fact:

“Should” is a dirty word.

It negates the misinformation guiding past decisions, as though you might have clearly seen every future outcome.

It brushes aside the truth that most–if not all–your choices are based on the best intentions.

It begs the past to be remade into a new present, holding tight to “might have been” instead of accepting “already is.”

It implies “someone better” would have acted another way, lamenting inadequacy while ignoring the opportunity to learn and improve.

Why must you be intolerant of your own mistakes?

What requires you to be more accurate in your conclusions and performance than anyone else?

Is it anything other than your own ridiculous ideal?

Everybody fails because ambition invites defeat.

Great achievement comes only at the end of a persistent battle–after mountains have been climbed and rivers crossed. The ability to maintain focus and persevere is incompatible with a desire to remain flawless. The chances you’ll travel the long road between “here” and “there” unstained by defeat are slim.

Become comfortable with the idea, as it sharpens your will for the hours and days (maybe even months and years) ahead.

The first–and most crucial–victory is often over yourself.

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1 Response to “The Effect of Perfectionism”



  1. 1 Succeed Like John Mayer « MeBuilding Trackback on May 27, 2010 at 7:40 am
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