Rachel’s Reads: Perfectly Imperfect

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Rachel Scully, Arts & Life Editor

Perfectionism feeds off the fear of failure. I learned this recently, as I have been feeling an immense amount of pressure. However, no one put that pressure on me; I put it on myself. Throughout my life, I have always felt that I needed to be perfect at everything. Whether it be at a sport I was playing, a paper I was writing or even how I looked, I always felt I needed to be nothing short of perfect. However, recently that  started taking a huge toll on my mental health. 

I know I am not the only one who feels this way, especially as one of the many people in college. There is this intense need to be good enough, and if you don’t reach it, you feel all your good work has gone to waste. It is usually at that point that I start to shut down. I tell myself, “Well, I tried my best and it still didn’t work. There’s nothing else I can do now.” 

On the other hand, I will be terribly mean to myself, with my inner voice making statements such as, “You didn’t do well enough, why do you even try?” or “You did such a bad job! Stop trying to be good at something you will never be good at.” Those are just some of the lighter statements I tell myself. However, all of these statements are completely cruel. No one deserves to be treated like that, even by herself. 

So, when I caught myself in that state of mind, I decided I wasn’t going to take it anymore. If I had a friend saying half the things to me that I was saying to myself, I would immediately stop being friends with them. It would be such a toxic relationship. So, why am I allowing that type of relationship with myself?

Honestly, I still can’t answer that question. I don’t know why I have allowed that mindset to continue. Absolutely no one is perfect, no matter how much others try to convince you that they are.

With every mistake you make, perfectionism forces you to dwell on it. So, if you are in constant fear of the future, it becomes incredibly difficult to make rational decisions. However, if you accept that mistakes happen and learn from them, you take away the power that perfectionism has over you. 

By no means did this revelation happen overnight. It happened over years of torture from my perfectionist demon. Only recently did I finally realize that I needed to change. I need to welcome mistakes as a step toward becoming a better me. I need to accept that I will never be able to control the future. Once I do this, I know that I will start to finally silence that ridiculous voice. Even then, the battle might not be perfect and it can still creep up on me. 

It will take a lot of time, energy and possibly many tries, but I am starting to welcome my imperfections.