That is the perfect outfit.
I want to be the perfect girlfriend.
I. want. to. be. perfect.
‘Normal’ is out, ‘unique’ is a nice word for weird and ‘ideal’ is overrated. ‘Perfect’ is in.
A few months ago when I was looking at my website statistics and saw that “prettiest, skinniest girl in school” was a search term people were using to get to my website, I realized the perfect syndrome was a bigger problem than I anticipated.
Perfect Syndrome: The desire, drive and need to be perfect as a person, in an activity or with someone else.
More and more I am seeing friends, clients and readers grapple with this need to be perfect. I wanted to outline a few things for readers to be aware and prevent against this type of thinking.
1. Picture Perfect 2.0
When someone took a picture of you at your cousin’s birthday you didn’t think much about the weird face you were making or the fact that you were not wearing much makeup. Now, that picture gets more eyeballs than in a simple home album because…
2. Online access and permanence means more perfect
Candidates for jobs, teens and kids are constantly told that the Internet now makes everything you post accessible to everyone and permanent. Don’t post a picture of yourself getting drunk because you never know who might see it. It also sends another message, don’t post a less than perfect picture of yourself because it will last forever.
Is a sister disease to the perfect syndrome. A few months ago I wrote about how technology and invention is getting us closer to perfection so we want it more. Case in point: HD makeup.
4. Perfect and Pretty are close.
When I wrote the article on being the perfect, skinniest girl in school I was talking about
5. Perfect is Addictive
There is a slipper cycle I especially see with teen girls. They get a perfect score on a paper or in a gymnastics competition. It feels good, really good. Then, if they get anything less than perfect it feels like a failure.
6. Perfect and Food
The desire to be perfect and disordered eating come very close together. It can start when mom makes dinner but doesn’t eat any. When you come to family dinner, but do not have any. When you do not eat off your own plate, but eat off everyone else’s. Pro-ana (pro anorexia sites) websites also make it easy and seem normal to be obsessed with eating to perfection (or not eating to perfection.
7. Everyone Wants it and No One Has It
Perfection is one of those illusive and mysterious concepts that everyone wants, but no one actually feels like they has. This is an important concept to understand or help relay to your perfect-seeker. It never feels like you have perfection.
8. What Tense Do You Live In?
A lot of perfect seekers live in a different tense. What I mean is, they either are obsessed with something that went wrong in the past and therefore trying to be perfect now to make up for it, or are worrying about their success in the future and want to be perfect for a future point. It is important to think about what tense you are living in and bring it to the present tense. Live for now.
9. Unicorn in a Balloon Factory
When I work with teens I can usually pinpoint perfect seekers because they act like unicorns in a balloon factory. They want to be beautiful and awe inspiring but have absolutely no room to move because they are afraid something might pop if they do. This leaves them anxious, immobile and afraid.
10. The Pop Ain’t So Bad
I fail all the time, everyday, every time I send out an email to another parenting site asking to trade guest posts or start a project that readers hate. I learn more from those mistakes than my successes. When something pops, or fails I find that I am way better off that I ever think I could be.
I talk about perfect-seekers like they are a certain group of people, the truth is, perfect seekers are in all of us. Some have it stronger and in more areas of our lives than others, but some part of us always wants to be perfect. It is important to look at the tips above and be aware of this part of ourselves and see if it makes us live in a different tense, afraid of popping the balloons in our life or is something we will never truly be able to attain.