Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Pain of Perfection

For many people, the desire and commitment to do their 'best', can easily morph into an obsessional attempt to be 'perfect'.
'Perfectionism' is often one of the major maintaining and controlling factors for a person who is suffering from an eating disorder.
'Perfection' is an impossibility, but it is a often believed to be THE goal to aspire to reach. This belief will only result in failure and probable exhaustion from attempting to reach this impossible state of being.
The pursuit of perfection may result in a number of situations. A person may realize that they are aiming for the impossible, and simply relax and enjoy a more attainable goal.
What may also happen, which may not seem obvious at first, is that the person who has been the 'high achiever' will begin to feel depressed and hopeless, and be unable to accomplish much of anything in their daily life. They may consider themselves lazy and depressed, and have considerable problems doing even the most simple things. They may reach a point of apathy.
Could this be a result or an extension of the 'perfectionism'? I think it may.
Because it is not possible to be perfect, for any of us, the pursuit is not only exhausting, but obviously, unrewarding. A lot of physical and emotional energy is likely to be spent on
this unattainable goal.
A feeling of failure is another likely result, which will add to the feelings of depression and hopelessness. This can also leave a person feeling empty and useless, with a sort of loss of identity. Who are they if they are not that 'perfect' person they have been striving to be?
I don't believe that anyone strives for perfection because they believe they ARE perfect, or that they are better than anyone else. More than likely, it's just the opposite.
The expectations of society and the world around us may 'sound' like rules for how we 'should' be. Such a vicious cycle....
My conclusion is that the impossible pursuit to be perfect may lead to depression, apathy and much less motivation in the end.
Let's all strive to do our personal best and be proud of it!
Without apology....♥


  1. Thank you for this post. I can definitely relate. In fact, this is the exact thing I am currently dealing with in my recovery from an eating disorder.
    During the recovery process, I've realized that I am actually a perfectionist. I would say that at the moment I'm at that point you mentioned about feeling unable to accomplish anything and feeling like a failure.

    This post has made me feel less alone in what I'm going through, in addition to making me feel a little better.

  2. Please know that you can learn new ways to cope and to live your life without the eating disorder. It takes time and hard work, but please don't ever give up! Take care...♥

  3. Your conclusion that the struggle to attain perfection leads not to perfection but to a whole bunch of grief is spot on. My own experience leads me to agree.

    Keep writing.

  4. I will! Thinking of you Mara...♥