Usually it is not “good enough”?

Padre Rosinski

Perfectionism might take away joy.

There are moments in our lives in which we should look for the answer to the question whether we have not fallen into the trap of perfectionism.

For many people, one of the reasons for discouragement are unrealistic expectations. Some of us have specific expectations about ourselves, with others or in our marriages, which can only be met in the unreal world of one’s imagination.

Perfectionists, especially those with the most ambitious expectations for themselves, can constantly live in a sense of discouragement. For I have never met a perfectionist who would be proud of success.

Most of us want to be successful. Some, however, make the requirement a success. Even if it did happen, they are still busy getting to perfection.

To prove that they are good enough, perfectionists try to do the impossible. They have admirable goals and see no reason why they should not achieve them. However, the heroic nature of the tasks they set themselves is too much for them.

If you are a perfectionist, it means that you have set such a high standard for everything you do that no one could keep up with it. For often it is above the possibilities of a human being and beyond a rational measure. The rush towards its implementation is always present, but the goal has been and cannot be achieved. As a result, we get discouraged.

In fact, perfectionism is such a thief. Shows rewards, but in return, it steals joy and satisfaction. When you demand perfection from yourself, you are subject to rules, which usually take the form: “I have to”, “should” and “it has to”.

Perfectionists live in a constant need for confidence and risk avoidance. They feel good only in such activities in which they are sure that they will achieve the intended effect. However, when certainty is not very clear, they become almost ill with fear that they have made the right decision. Terrified by the possibility of failure, they will not try anything until they are sure about the guarantees of success.

Fear of being less than perfect can lead them to restrain themselves and to constantly excuse themselves. The fear of losing perfection leads to stagnation in their lives.

As long as we lean towards ideal perfection, we will never become good enough in our eyes, a criticizing voice will resound within us that can destroy our sincere efforts: “No matter how well we do, we could have done it better!”

This kind of internal criticism draws our attention to every constraint and every fault. That voice is shrill and ruthless, it is a compilation of all external judgments we have heard in our life:

“See how much trouble you have caused. You should know better, how could you say something so stupid?”

Perfectionism feeds on comparisons. Nothing can depress us more than to compare our achievements with those of others. We will almost always idealize others, while we will minimize our own abilities.

In everything, we think we are not so good, not as smart, not as efficient as others. Applying more effort usually does not work, because there will always be some sort of imperfection in the end.

Whenever we are discouraged, we should ask if we have fallen into perfectionism by chance. For it is not a spiritual gift or a vocation. It is rather a matter of choosing the option of struggling to “be good enough”, but by choosing that option we risk being discouraged. Remind yourself that in God’s eye we have been already recognized us as “good enough.”

marcin.rosinski@forces.gc.ca