By Georgie Atkinson
What is Perfection? Grade 8 with a distinction? A double first from uni? To me perfection is undefinable, something that will always elude me, a rod to beat my already broken back. How did I acquire this rather nasty demon, some would say its inherited, others would say it was taught.
However, no matter how it came to be my friend, it is now stuck to me like my shadow. Going to a highly academic and pressurised school I believe was the catalyst for my perfectionism to be turned up to eleven (bonus point if you get the reference.) At school I felt consistently out of place or below average, always overwhelmed when I thought I did badly, or when didn’t achieve the same result as my peers.
The competitive nature of school was both a hinderance and a motivator, there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve a mark now and again, but when the grade or mark defines your emotions; then that’s where the problem can lie. I remember being absolutely distraught when my Latin teacher told me a predicted grade that wasn’t an A*. In hindsight I look at the old Georgie and feel sorry for her, she was trapped inside her own head, constantly battling with not only depression but with a chronic case of perfectionism.
Now I have identified this as a problem, how do I begin to let go of this unnecessary weight around my neck? I believe good place to start, is using hindsight; in relation to whether you believe you have failed or not. At first if you read a mark or grade which you are disappointed, acknowledge that this isn’t the end of the world. (Unless your results day has coincidentally coincided with the Apocalypse.) There might have been a time you can look back on and realise that after a poor mark you were able to retake the test or get a paper remarked. As my mother tells me, what makes the news today is tomorrow’s fish and chip shop paper. Although this reference ages my mother, I believe that there is wise advice in there.
I understand that it can sound quite patronising, to just say, ‘let it go.’ However, Disney has made a fortune out of those three words. Which despite being sung by every 7 year old, they are actually words of sound advice.
In a world where there is a utopian image always being sold to us, via instagram and the internet, it is easy to forget that there is always 100 different selfies that didn’t make it online. The point being that no one is perfect, despite what your instagram feed might say. It is natural to want to achieve greater things and fulfill your potential but always remember to take a step back and take time to acknowledge your achievements; rather than always ask what could I have done better; for that is where madness can lie.
Reproduced with permission, originally posted here