0314-Perfectionism

“My make out came off, but it left me with new memories. My Ugly Friend Festival 2.” – Ha Sang Wook.

Recently, a popular Korean variety show called Infinity Challenge, held the second season of My Ugly Friend Festival. They invited male celebrities such as musicians, actors and sportsmen to celebrate their ugliness with their hosts. Even though the show is well-known for its satirical comedy, the main message of this festival is to encourage people to embrace their individual charm.

Keeping a perfect image is tiring.

One of the participants, Ha Sang Wook, is a poet and he felt free for the first time. The festival is like a first day off to him. He didn’t have to worry about writing poems or anything. For the first time, he didn’t have to pretend or maintain his perfect image as a poet.

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Screencap of Infinity Challenge episode (owned by MBC Entertainment.)

Regardless if you are a perfectionist in your work, your looks, your home or your relationships, being perfect is tiring and bad for your health in the long run. You have to avoid all mistakes, all flaws and all failure. Is that even possible?

Wouldn’t life be easier if you just accept what is?

Problems with Perfectionism: Why You Need to Overcome It?

1. Perfectionism makes you lonely.

“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” Brené Brown.

Hiding your flaws from other people is not only exhausting, it creates distance. People want to know the real you. People bond with each other because they share the same experience and problems. Maintaining a perfect image puts you on a pedestal and separates you from others.

Do you love your friends because they are perfect?

People don’t reject you because you are imperfect. People reject you because you are too perfect. They are afraid that they will be judged by the same standards you judge yourself.

2. Perfectionism leads you to procrastination.

There is nothing bad with having high standards and producing quality work. However, It’s difficult to make a decision or get anything done when you are constantly worrying about making mistakes.

As a writer, I over-research sometimes because I didn’t want to make mistakes in my writing. And it has some negative effects on my productivity. It slowed down my work tremendously. Even worse are some aspiring writers or artists who never get their work done. They kept thinking their work isn’t good enough to be shipped.

So what if your book has mistakes? I have read books with a couple of mistakes in them but I still love those books very much. What matters to you might not matter to others.

Accept that you are a human and you do make mistakes! You can always go back to correct your mistakes if they are of any significance.

3. Perfectionism controls you.

Being a perfectionist means you want to be in control. You want to make everything right and ideal. But the problem is, the more you want control over something, the more you are controlled by that something. If you believe that having a perfect job would make you happy, aren’t that belief controlling you to find the perfect job?

Do you really want perfection? Or do you need praise, love and approval?

When I was in primary school, I used to study very hard for my grades. My dad never praised us. So I thought he would praise me when I’d received a perfect score in my Maths test. But he didn’t. Instead, he thought that the Maths test was easy and assumed many students scored 100 marks too. From that day onwards, I realized I didn’t want perfection. What I really want is praise, love and approval from my dad. So I stopped striving perfection in my academics.

Most of us are overly dependant on external validation. We care deeply about what other people think of us and are addicted to other people’s praises like a drug. Being perfect makes us proud of ourselves. But we don’t realize this feeling of pride are controlling us to do things that might not even be significant to us.

4. Perfectionism creates unnecessary suffering.

A life without mistakes is a very tough life to lead.

Wanting perfection in everything creates unnecessary fear, worry, anxiety and even depression. You get stressed over chasing the perfect job, the perfect partner and the perfect body. If you have all or nothing mentality and something doesn’t work out as planned, it’s easy to get depressed. 

Perfectionism creates imposter syndrome. You are afraid to fail because you are scared that others would discover you are a fraud. You nitpick at yourself because you have too high expectations for yourself. When you are doing group work, you think you need to do all the work because other people’s work aren’t perfect in your eyes.

Stop chasing perfection and start living. You are bound to lose in the game of perfection because perfection is impossible. You can’t control everything in life.

5. Perfectionism makes you feel inadequate.

“There is a kind of beauty in imperfection.” – Conrad Hall.

Seeking perfection means something isn’t enough right now. It makes you feel inadequate and inferior as though you aren’t good enough yet.

Most of us associate our self-worth with achievement and success. But by doing so, we are also limiting our love for ourselves. We are always rushing to some better destinations. What we fail to see is the beauty that imperfection possess.

There is perfection in imperfection.

Pointing out your mistakes and shaming yourself isn’t the best way to learn. As soon as we realize that imperfection is everywhere and there isn’t a need to change anything, things become perfect as it is. We are perfect as we are and no longer need to seek something that is so elusive and unattainable like perfection.

We just appreciate how perfect imperfection is and have compassion for ourselves.

6. Perfectionism makes you forget your strengths.

When you focus on perfection, you focus too much on the details and fail to see the big picture. You put too much of your energy and attention on your weaknesses that you neglect your strengths.

What if the one thing you hate the most about yourself is your most valuable trait?

I used to think that being quiet is a weakness. But if I wasn’t so quiet, I wouldn’t have enjoyed writing so much and be a writer. People who have physical disabilities could see themselves as broken or develop their strengths. Think Nick Vujicic, the motivation speaker. He doesn’t have any legs or arms at birth, but he still standing strong.

You can’t choose what to have or not to have at birth. But you can choose what to do about it. Stop focusing on what’s missing in your life. Focus on what’s available to you.

Are you overly focused on your imperfections? Don’t neglect your strengths.

This month’s theme is about acceptance. It’s about accepting our flaws and imperfections. I would like to end off the post with a heartfelt speech by Woo Hyeon, the winner of The Most Charming Man in My Ugly Friend Festival 2:

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Screencap of Infinity Challenge episode (owned by MBC Entertainment.)

“To be honest, before I became an entertainer, there was a time when I was very pessimistic about my appearance. When I looked into the mirror, I felt hopeless. There was a time when I blamed my parents for my looks. But one day, I realized that people liked me. I wondered why. I asked myself that question. It turned out that I also have strengths. I started to develop my strengths and I could sense the way people viewed me started to change. Although we are not handsome, there is nothing ugly about us. We each have our own strengths. I am very honored to be voted by all of you. Thank you very much.”


Question: Are you a perfectionist? Share with me your experience in the comment section below.

Featured Photo Credit: If that’s the case / lauren rushing

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