Chasing perfection

How many of us validate ourselves by wanting perfection? We look for perfection, convincing ourselves that other areas of our lives will be right when we have it, when in reality we should be seeking to do the opposite.

The idea of a world in which everyone and everything is perfect is nonsensical. I have seen people continue to change things because they want things better than the way they have it. Perhaps we must consciously appreciate what we have.

As a child, I wanted to be normal, like everyone else who didn’t have a physical issue. I wanted to walk properly without a limp, I wanted to walk heel-toe. I was constantly checking the heels on my shoes, to see how they were wearing down, and would get annoyed because they looked and wore differently.

When I crayoned outside the lines, I would throw the colouring sheet I was using in the bin and start again. The outlines on my handwriting weren’t formed properly, they were inconsistent and too small, but luckily that need for perfection didn’t spill over into anything else.

My being a perfectionist seemed to be centred around my anger, not so much around me. For example, I used to love colouring in and if I coloured out of the lines, I’d get cross and want to start again. I believe it has something to do with OCD, which can co-exist through a diagnosis like cerebral palsy, but for those who are chasing perfection all the time it can be exhausting.

It is an impossible quest, one that will end with disappointment every time, because no one can expect to be the best all the time. The bar will always be raised. Perfection isn’t something that will always be within our grasp.

But having to chase perfection can also be a stressful burden. Having to keep up standards is stressful enough, but if you must, being the best at something is better than being the best at everything. Being the best at everything means you’ll never settle for second and you’ll be too stressed to enjoy it.

29 Apr, 2012

4 thoughts on “Chasing perfection

  1. I used to be really bad at having to have everything just so. But I’ve gotten over that mostly.

    Now that we are adopting a small child being perfect won’t seem to be that important anymore, because messes will happen and things will get out of order.

    1. Thanks for your post Lisa.

      I believe that the reality for most of us is that our lives aren’t really like that. Wanting everything perfect and chasing perfection is a pipe dream in a Cinderella story! Our realities are different.

      I know that having CP made me less than perfect and I never had a problem with that. I think the lack of support and understanding made it more difficult for me to accept the fact that I had it. I must have been compensating back then as a child.

      I think you’re right. Adopting a child gives us a different take on our life. You will have messes given his young age, but he just needs to be who he is. I wish you all the luck in the world.

  2. Growing up I used to try to do things perfectly… like ‘normal’ kids, walk, play sports, talk, even think and when it didn’t happen I got very angry and violent.

    Even now I try do be perfect, especially at home. I try to do ‘home repairs,’ but deep down I know it is not going to work, then the anger comes back (not the violence).

    1. I totally get you. This isn’t about you… this is about you having to deal with Cerebral Palsy, not so easy to do.

      As a child I was also very angry. Looking back it had nothing to do with me either. I know with the right support we would have coped a lot better. Sometimes it’s the understanding that helps us perceive our life better.

      I began to surround myself with people who were positive, that also helped. The key is positive support and understanding. I believe both of those attributes are very important.

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