The Other Side of Perfectionism

We have been looking perfectionism negatively. We see perfectionists as people who are too self-centered and egotist. We look at them as people who are unhappy for being obsessed in attaining perfection. We look at them as something creepy and alarming without noticing ourselves that in most cases, we are actually among them.

Perfectionism, in psychology, is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards, accompanied by overly critical self-evaluations and concerns regarding others’ evaluations”

Does being accused Perfectionist in today’s time still consider a pain? In some point, it does not. Although most people still consider it as something like 21st century disease, it is already considered a necessity in today’s pace of life. Most activities require flawlessness especially when it comes to critical jobs that require an almost 100% perfection. And, no employers nowadays would not tell you to perfect your tasks. We are also being pressured to gain a not just a high score but perfect score when it comes to any type of examination. Our family, our friends, the society, ourselves are factors that force us to be perfectionist in some instances. We could see that the thought of perfectionism is created due to the fact that some factors critique our efforts and pressure ourselves to attain perfection.

We set unrealistic goals such as studying the entire book for a very short period of time. We aim to lose 20 pounds in a month. We expect a fast result to all the effort we exert. We only look at that end point of every activity we create. We look at things just white and black. We leave no available room for mistakes. These are all signs that we are perfectionists sometimes.

Let’s look at it at different perspective. We are talking here about how we accomplish things without flaws. We could do that, we could be there, but most of the time it requires training by surviving events of hardship and mistakes. In most cases, we are all perfectionists. We strive to create things at their best, to accomplish tasks successfully, to improve ourselves for the better and to contribute to the world with our right actions. We strive to be good and we take feedback as necessity in order for us to know if we are actually being effective citizens of the world. And by receiving their feedback, we work more for improvements. As a student, employee or just a family member we need to train, and update skills, but we also know that we will never be happy unless our works are perfect or almost there. It’s our aim to extend our service to the best we can.

I see no wrong at being perfectionist because it just does mean that the person is striving to be better version of himself. We could also be called perfectionists in terms of practicing our deen. We struggle to complete the prayers, to improve our recitation of the Qur’an, to be a better believer, and so on. Being accused as perfectionist should not mean being unrealistic, and being realistic should not mean being a failure magnet. Being vulnerable to commit flaws won’t make you not perfectionist, because flaws do not end perfectionism. It even trigger the perfectionist to strive to be better due to it. What’s wrong is to look at flaws negatively all the time when in fact anyone does mistakes.

There are various interpretation of what perfectionism actually mean and a lot tips on how to conquer this is being spread all over the town, as they see it as something illness. It must have been called, Perfectionia and people infected are Perfectioniac instead. We forget to realize that perfectionism is actually part of reality. It’s already there and will always be. If we look at Perfectionists as people who never commit flaws, then we are getting it wrong. There’s no human who can be describe as perfect, everyone has down sides. I do not see realism and perfectionism two very contrasting factors. Also, if obsession and perfectionism be considered as synonymous then it’s another interpretation again.

Are you a perfectionist? Do you deny it or shrug it off as something naturally part of who you are? Will I call myself a perfectionist? No. But, I won’t call anyone as perfectionist either although I see everyone as it. People differ at the perception of what perfectionism mean. While some would take it as a compliment to be called as perfectionist, mostly would deny the fact. I rather call myself a struggler. I struggle to be at my best ( and to be at any best is to reach almost perfection ). I don’t aim 100% perfection in everything but 80% is enough, maybe?

Perfectionism could mean that we strive to reach that level of best on a single task. We struggle to be better on our tasks, to do things right. We know there’s no thing as total perfection as this is only given to the Almighty. Being perfectionist should not mean achieving that perfectness which only attributed to the Almighty. There’s no big issue if we see our names within the fold of perfectionism. But, we must not think we are involved in a competition with set deadlines and contenders. We must also have a reality check every time we are achieving something. Setting realistic goals is necessary. Perfectionism must not mean fantasizing beyond reality. Just take note that sometimes as we strive too much to be perfect, no matter what the reason, we lose track of what’s actually important. To be the best does not mean being the best among all, because there will always be better than  us. And for the Almighty who is the Most Great and Most Perfect, all of us are plainly same.. imperfect human beings.

Najmah is a Clinical Nutritionist, Med student and Writer. She is the founder of The Muslim Bricks. You can also find her blogging on her blog, By Najmah, where she writes about wellness, personal excellence, and her journey to white coat.

12 Replies to “The Other Side of Perfectionism”

  1. Daily Horoscope Expert

    I am also not a perfectionist, but I understand people who are, and I think they lost too much precious time … from my perspective, a person who is always in total chaos and too little time to achieve a fraction of what I want 🙁

  2. Shahista ♡

    Mashallah, a very good reminder that we will never attain that level of perfection but to see negative in everything gets you nowhere either. We have been created to make flaws, make mistakes only to learn from them and become stronger. My life experiences have shaped me Alhumdullilah I can not complain because I wouldnt be who I am now with all the struggles, continuous mistakes I have encountered throughout my life and I know that I have still not reached that level of perfection that I wish to be

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