What is perfection? Have you ever researched its meaning? For a word that creates such a challenge for people and can ruin lives, it isn’t very perfect! Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines it as, “broadly, a state of completeness and flawlessness.” It then goes on to discuss its earliest known definition, which comes from Aristotle and his book Delta of the Metaphysics. Aristotle describes it in “three shades of one meaning:”

1)Which is complete- which contains all the requisite parts;
2)Which is good that nothing of the kind could be better;
3)Which has attained its purpose

It appears that those of you who struggle with the idea of perfection and being perfect only understand perfection in its second shade, “That of which nothing of the kind could be better.” That is a very high standard to hold oneself and everything around you to. What a highly unrealistic expectation, one that results in negativity and frustration, limiting true success.

“Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells you that nothing you do will ever be good enough - that you should try again.” - Julia Cameron b. 1948

The term perfectionist has taken on a negative meaning, although, this isn’t necessarily fair. The reason is related to self-proclaimed perfectionists who use this as an excuse to demand it from themselves and others. Demanding would be the key word in the previous sentence; to demand is not to allow for flexibility and is to expect. When perfection is expected and little other options remain, then it becomes unrealistic. These high expectations and the perception that nothing is good enough results in anger and agitation. This anger and agitation is taken out on others or internalized towards yourself, most times both. This is certainly going to create disappointment and frustration. When one demands, they take a position of authority. This position of authority is then setting forth a requirement and it is the requirement to do or be perfect. These requirements, added to the fact that perfection is unrealistic, result in the idea that nothing is good enough. To believe that nothing is good enough will certainly create anger and frustration, which will be expressed inward as depression or outward as abusive or mean.

“In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.”
-Hannah Arendt 1906-1975

Become perfect:
- Decide you have options
- Accept feedback
- Self define perfection
- Choose and use what works!

The original concept of “perfection” and the idea of one always striving for it are realistic and healthy. To strive for this concept is to seek and desire to be complete, purposeful, and the best of it’s kind. However, as a desire it allows those who seek it the freedom to come close and not give up. To understand perfection based on this understanding of its meaning would be to understand that there is a no failure only feedback, to think of what you want and the fact that you have a choice over how you think, act, and feel about your life and those around you. These simple ideas, no failure only feedback, thinking about what you want, having a choice over your thoughts, actions, and feelings, combined with the fact that perfection is based on perception and it is meant to be pursued you realize perfection, as you know it, is a myth! It is impossible to even achieve anything of which nothing of the kind could be better, because this is a matter of opinion. If you want to value yourself and others based on your idea of perfection, then do so understanding that it is completely subjective. You will also want to understand that if you plan to value yourself based on another’s standard of perfection, then you’re going to need to know what their definition of perfection is.

Author's Bio: 

Terry M. Drake is a Licensed Social Worker, National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Trainer of Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP. He has spent the last 15 years learning about himself and others, through his academic studies resulting in his MSW and his professional studies, as a family therapist, clinical supervisor and vast training and research into hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, the law of attraction and positive psychology. Terry is currently a Director of mental and behavioral health programs, as well as a Life Coach and Hypnotherapist in private practice. He has begun to put his skills to use as an author, speaker, consultant and coach. Terry lives in Wellsboro, Pa with his wife and children. You can learn more about the power of your mind and how to be happy and successful in everything you do, by visiting www.livehappilyeverafter-now.com and buying his new book, Live Happily, Ever After… Now! 9 Simple Steps to create the life YOU want!