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Are You a Perfectionist Or Is It a Shield From Being Hurt?

In a world driven by expectations and standards, the pursuit of perfection often stands as a tantalising goal. It promises flawlessness and validation. Yet, for many of us, perfectionism is more than a mere aspiration; it becomes a shield, guarding against the sting of criticism, failure, and vulnerability. I have personally always struggled with that idea of rejection, so my perfectionism comes from a deep desire of belonging. Since a very young age I have been living in different places feeling like I didn't belong, that I was different, and I had to learn how to survive those feelings and 'protect' myself. I also grew up with a mum that would say things like 'if you want something right, do it yourself' which didn't help my case. So, I completely agree with the idea that perfectionism has its dual nature as both a pursuit of excellence and a defence mechanism against emotional hurt. Can you relate?

In that endless quest for excellence, perfectionism manifests as setting exceptionally high standards for ourselves and others, striving tirelessly to meet or exceed them. Often driven by a fear of failure or procrastinating on tasks because they're afraid they won't be able to complete them perfectly. But beneath the layer of excellence lies a deep-seated fear of failure, rejection, or disapproval where mistakes are perceived as unbearable, igniting an inner fear of being judged or hurt. Sometimes the fear of being hurt emotionally drives the need for perfection. It becomes a way to control external perceptions and shield oneself from potential pain.

But the Paradox is that we continue striving for unattainable standards, fostering anxiety, stress, and a constant feeling of inadequacy without a light at the end of the tunnel. Understanding the root cause of perfectionism—often stemming from fear or past experiences—is the initial step towards change. Embracing imperfection is a process and there should be no judgement as you reach a more open and genuine life because we are all unique and special just as we are.

I've learnt that practicing self-compassion and forgive myself and all my imperfections helped me see myself as a human and work towards for self-acceptance. Just as I am! I has made me stronger knowing why I tend to isolate or why I have a hard time delegating, or why I have a tendency for an all-or-nothing mentality, or why I am highly self-critical. It made me realise that it's okay to be who I am, that I have value just as I am, and that I don't need to be 'perfect' to be loved, to belong or to not be hurt. Perfection simply cannot be achieved. It does not exists.

I have allowed myself to remove the shield of perfection, allowing more genuine connections and embracing emotional resilience.

Perfectionism paradoxically becomes a source of distress and emotional turmoil. Try peeling back the layers of perfectionism, acknowledging its shielding nature. You don't need protection, you just need to be yourself. Embracing vulnerability as a source of strength, we can strive not for perfection, but for authenticity to promote a deeper understanding of ourselves and allow for the beauty found within imperfections—the essence of being human.


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