Tuesday, January 21, 2014

3 Defenses Against Perfection-Mongers

NaBloPoMo January 2014  


The only time I really remember feeling pressured to be perfect is when I showed my father a Trigonometry test I had taken in the 10th grade.  I had been working very hard in the class and achieved a score of 97%.  I took the paper to my father (who had a PhD in Chemical Engineering) and he asked me, "What happened to the other 3 points?"  OUCH!

And I put a lot of pressure on myself to be 'perfect', because I want the result of whatever I am working on to be my best work for the other person.  But pressuring oneself to be perfect is not necessarily good either.

I know there are people out there who judge others by where they live, what kind of vehicle they drive, whether or not they shop off the rack, whether they are married or *gasp* divorced, too young or too old, Christian or Jew or Muslim or Buddhist.

In a sense, we all make judgments about people based on their looks, their skin color, whether or not they have a degree, where they work, if they work, what church they go to ... the list is endless.  A lot of it is the result of ignorance, Yes, it is going to happen online.  

Media in general puts a lot of pressure on people to appear (at least physically) perfect.  Recently there was a buzz about someone Photoshopping Jennifer Lawrence to make her arms look thinner.  Puh-leeze!  Everyone wants to see young, thin, well-to-do people who have 'perfect' lives.  But as anyone who has seen an episode of "The Real Housewives of (X)" can tell you:  a) those housewives are not representative of the vast majority of housewives anywhere in the world, and b) rich, young, physically attractive people do not necessarily have happily-ever-after lives.

So, how to we affirm ourselves as "just fine, just the way we are, thank you very much"?

Talk to the Hand Defense - literally put up your hand and give a "stop" sign.  You don't have time to listen to that kind of noise.  This is a great defense against those who would stop you from getting the right things done by insisting that everything you do be done 'just right'.

Walk Away Defense - This defense is for when the battle to be perfect is just not worth it.  Maybe you are in a toxic relationship, be it family, friend or love interest.  Some insists you do things just so, or always their way, in order that you be 'worthy'.  Walk away.  Create distance.

Channel Changer Defense - You've probably heard the maxim that 'the best defense is a good offense'.  Choose to take in information that is uplifting.  Choose to consume things that energize you.  Opt out of the mirage of perfection.  Get the right things done.

What are your thoughts on the concept of perfection?


  1. I feel that perfection is seriously overrated and seems really artificial . Even robots are not 100% perfect and do malfunction at times. If we are striving for perfection it only means that we are setting ourselves up for failure. I rather be satisfied with what I have and know that I have put in my best effort.

  2. LuAnn I feel your pain. My hubs is the same way. Complete any task and you can count on him to point out any mistakes that were made. He is also adept at assigning blame. These skills worked well for him during his Fortune 500 career but do not translate so well into casual everyday interactions! :) I have a theory. This trait is the same as having blue eyes or being left-handed. Some people's brains just work that way. Mine does not. Either that, or if it does work that way, I was trained at an early age to be polite and overlook shortcomings. My best defense of this annoying habit is to make sure I never do it. I work hard to find the good among the not-so-good, and compliment/praise wherever possible. Maybe someday the other folks will get the hint.

  3. @Dominique - I totally agree with you. Even goal-setting gurus say it's ok to aim for the stars, but then you have to release the outcome.

    @Lissa - Very interesting premise. Makes a lot of sense In a sense. I used that in my work with adults with MR. They don't learn like the 'average person', whatever that means, and sometimes, say learning to buckle yourself in in a vehicle is as big an accomplishment as making the Olympic team.

    Oh, BTW, we are huge Cowboy fans here too! :O)