Perfectionists have been getting a bad name in some quarters. And some of the criticism is justified.
At its worst, perfectionism promotes rigidity in thinking, non-acceptance of others whose ideas are different, and the setting of standards that are often impossible to achieve. It is impossible to be better than everyone else at everything that you attempt.
An unfortunate byproduct of that type of perfectionism is low self-esteem. The law of averages reflects the fact that some of your efforts will be imperfect and some of your efforts will inevitably end in disappointment.
On the other hand, what’s wrong with trying to be the best that you can be at whatever you attempt? In a word, the answer is, “Nothing” – so long as you don’t attach a “must quality” to your efforts.
There is nothing wrong with trying your best, but there is something wrong with saying that whatever you try to do must lead to perfection or else you should feel badly about yourself
I can’t write as well as John Grisham or sing as well as Bruce Springsteen or play golf as well as Phil Mickelson – but it doesn’t mean that I can’t try my best and still enjoy those activities even if I’m mediocre at them.
Even within my field, I am certain that there are others who can articulate and promote their concepts for achieving mental health better than I can. But I can help more people to grow and change if I articulate and promote my ideas as best I can than would be the case if I quit doing so because I’m not perfect at it.
Each of us has the ability to accomplish great things if we allow ourselves to take the risk of letting others know about our ideas without fear of embarrassment or criticism because we are not perfect.
The “good type” of perfectionist tries to achieve one’s best but is able to gain from the process and build self-esteem whether or not those efforts end in perfection. In fact, most of the time you won’t be perfect. That’s part of being human.