Breaking Free from the Perfectionism Trap

Breaking Free from the Perfectionism Trap

By: Serena Ng

Perfectionism can subtly infiltrate our lives, promising betterment but often leading to stress, dissatisfaction, and discontent. The pursuit of flawlessness, whether in appearance, career, or relationships, can adversely affect our well-being, leading to anxiety, and even physical or mental health issues. 

Perfectionism can become a problem in our lives. 

Despite our initial good intentions of striving for excellence, helping others, or sacrificing for loved ones, perfectionism can gradually spiral into a cycle of self-imposed pressure and unattainable standards. This relentless drive to assist others and fulfill promises can lead to the neglect of our own welfare, fostering anxiety, and self-doubt. We may believe that by burning the midnight oil to aid others, we may be able to help more people to have a better living tomorrow. What will then happen is we may create our own problems while we cannot sort out others’ problems.

It is a trap we may not even realize we are ensnared in, as we continue to believe this is the ideal path for our well-being and that of those around us. The more we strive to help, the more suffering we may inadvertently cause. By shouldering others' burdens, we inadvertently rob them of valuable opportunities to learn and grow from their own challenges. Meanwhile, we accumulate stress and toxins in our bodies, cultivating unease and undermining our own mental and physical health, which will not be beneficial to anyone but detrimental to ourselves.

When we remain unaware that it's a problem, we may persist in pursuing this way of living and believing it’s the perfect way for our benefit and others.

In the pursuit of perfection, we may overlook a fundamental truth: life operates on a system of learning and growth. As souls navigating earthly existence, we are here to confront challenges, heal, and evolve. We learn through friction to remove the fear that we need to conquer to strengthen ourselves. We are not necessarily meant to live a good life, but instead, to handle challenges which are set up by our Guidance that we have contracted with before we incarnated to this planet.

Each of us has chosen a unique set of circumstances—family, upbringing, and environment—to facilitate our personal journey of growth. If we fall into the trap of perfectionism, believing it is our duty to ensure everyone around us lives flawlessly, we inadvertently disrupt this natural process. Rather than helping others to sort out their problems, we may create more problems. Instead of facilitating growth, we hinder it by denying others the opportunity to navigate their own trials and tribulations.

We might have wasted valuable moments and incurred opportunity costs without even realizing it.

Every decision carries an opportunity cost. Perfectionism may distort our priorities. We may sacrifice our precious time for trivial matters to achieve a worldly success outlook or compromise our health in the quest for maintaining perfect relationships. In doing so, we neglect the essence of our existence: our self-loyalty and personal well-being. We may have added more obligations, more burdens, to our already dutiful life rather than live light and live bright. We may have forgotten that without our physical body, we cannot do what we have planned to do for this lifetime which we have set for our purpose before we incarnated. Gradually, our physical body may deteriorate. We may get sick without knowing that it is because we have been giving away our precious energy to others willingly while we neglect our physical and mental health and jeopardizes our ability to honour the commitments we made before embarking on this earthly journey.

Life's journey is not about attaining perfection; it is about embracing our opportunities, acknowledging ourselves, and finding beauty in the process of healing and growth as we evolve with continuous new realisations throughout our life journey. Chasing for perfection is a waste of time. We are already perfect just as who we are, and others are the same. Each of us is inherently perfect in our uniqueness, and every experience—pleasant or challenging—serves a purpose in our evolution. 

By letting go of the urge to control and accepting both ourselves and others as they are, while allowing them the freedom to undergo the necessary experiences for their personal growth, we can gain deeper insights from the reflections of those in our environment. This liberation from rigid expectations expands our perspective beyond the confines of predetermined notions of our limited fixed pictures enriching our lives with diverse experiences. Rather than imposing rigid expectations that lead to ongoing disappointments, we can cultivate a sense of joy and fulfillment in our daily lives. We can approach life with curiosity and openness, allowing each moment and interaction to unfold naturally and authentically.

Life is precious. Treasure all moments, while we can.

All moments are precious, and every interaction holds meaning if we honour our true selves and act according to our true feelings for our opportunities. If we do not care how we look according to the opinion of the perfect standard that we impose for ourselves or others, we can live life authentically. We can release the burden of perfectionism and embrace life's richness, fostering genuine connection, profound growth, and enduring well-being. We can put our effort into those matters that really matter and interact with all fellowmen that we have attracted around us with true love and respect. 

Life is not about chasing an elusive ideal of perfection, it is about savouring the journey that we have chosen to cooperate with our own team of Guidance and be one of the beneficiaries for our deeds. Let's cast aside the illusion of perfection and embrace the journey of learning, healing, and growth. By nurturing our well-being and honouring our true selves, we can truly thrive amidst life's beautiful imperfections while we can.

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