Hey FFFN family!
I have written a blog this month about the search for “perfection”, a status that is so highly prioritised and sought out that it appears to have become an all-consuming obsession for so many people in society.
Perfection in its essence suggests a state of flawlessness, a position where there are no defects, no faults and no weaknesses. To be perfect implies that a person’s actions can attain a level of excellence that cannot be exceeded. Sadly, the desire to be “perfect” traps and burdens so many and consequently leads to unrelenting pressure and stress that can be devastatingly impactful.
So why is there such focus on this unrealistic pursuit of a completely utopian, idealistic state? By nature, humans are creatures who are inherently driven by goal attainment and high achievements and society fosters this culture to no end. We subsequently tend to measure our lives in terms of success and in turn, lose perspective on what it may mean to live happily, openly and honestly and free from the burden to meet or exceed others’ expectations.
Attaining “perfection” somehow equates to being accepted by others. Eliciting an image of complete flawlessness quells fear of judgement and/or rejection. But it is just that – an image. A picture of yourself that you want the world to see, to approve of, to admire and to adore, but one that is not necessarily a true reflection of who you really are, how you really feel or what you really want to say.
The saddest thing about striving for perfection is that deep down, feelings of inadequacy and insecurity are generally the main antagonists. Believing that you are “not enough”. Not attractive enough, not strong enough, not successful enough, not happy enough. The list is infinite.
The pressure of promoting a perfect image is relentless and inescapable and it comes as no surprise that social media is one of the biggest and most damaging culprits. How often does someone post an image of themselves having a brilliant time in a beautiful location, looking utterly stunning and in a complete state of bliss? What does this do to others who don’t feel so blissful, are struggling with their own issues, or are just having a really shitty day? It feeds their inadequacies and insecurities. It places unnecessary pressure to compete and also do better, look better, be better. It detracts from a person’s ability to celebrate their own achievements and contributions and respect their own importance, individuality and value.
In a world where we are so heavily entrenched in watching what everyone else is doing, what we often fail to appreciate is what we are in turn doing to ourselves. I know that I personally scour Instagram and Facebook, frequently and with morbid curiosity, getting sucked into all of the perfectly posed, filtered photos of people I know having a grand old time, while inside I’m dying because I am struggling with my own body image, my own sense of self, my own worth. Part of me envies and resents those “perfect” specimens, and the other part of me pities them for feeling the need to publicise an image that will only ever get positive attention and accolades however shallow and forgettable they are.
So, how do we as individuals become more accepting and proud of who we are? Well, we embrace our flaws and we champion our strengths. We consciously eliminate the pressure to be something that we think others around us want us to be if it doesn’t align with our true selves.
When I start to feel bogged down by the perfect images I see on social media or on television or out in the community, I make an intentional decision to remove myself. I disengage and seek out other things that I find inspiring, important and worthy of my time and energy. And I try to remind myself of three main things – perfection isn’t attainable, perfection isn’t authentic and perfection inhibits evolution. If we are constantly striving for perfection, we end up missing out on mistakes that need to be made, risks that need to be taken and lessons that need to be learnt, all of which allow for growth.
In a “perfect” world, everything is stagnant. There is nowhere to go. What an awfully boring, meaningless and monotonous existence we would have! Remember, honour your true self and be proud. Don’t be something you’re not to appease what you feel others expect of you. Make valuable contributions, meaningful connections and above all else, be proud to be Far From Fkn Normal!
Catch you in the next blog!
Certain topics discussed in FFFN’s blogs include content relating to mental health, suicide and other triggers. If you are experiencing any mental health concerns, please contact your GP or nearest healthcare facility. In the event of an emergency, please call 000. For community support, please reach out to Lifeline, Beyond Blue or other credible mental health organisations. FFFN do not provide any professional mental health or medical advice and/or treatment.