Wednesday, 18 November 2015


You were born to be real, not to be perfect. 

I was recently reading a transcript by Tal Ben-Shahar where he discussed the concept of perfectionism. He discussed two types of perfectionism. Firstly adaptive perfectionism, which is a healthy form of perfectionism where you strive for higher and higher standards. It is about working hard, making sure things are done well and acknowledging those achievements. The second type of perfectionism is maladaptive perfectionism; what Ben-Shahar described as unhealthy perfectionism. A form of perfection that rejects success,failure and painful emotions. "It is a fear of failure that is debilitating, and a fear of failure that doesn't allow us to try, to take risks, to explore, to meander" 

I have always associated myself as a perfectionist. A person who has always strived to do better and to be better. Unfortunately it didn't matter how well I was doing in my studies, professional life, personal life even in something as vain as my appearance - I was never good enough.  After reading Ben-Shahar's transcript I could finally relate to how I was feeling and it was this concept of maladaptive perfectionism. 

I have always felt this need to reach a perfect standard, but what is a perfect standard? Who defines when that perfect standard has been reached? There is no such definition and therefore it is an unattainable goal. Subconsciously knowing this I limit myself to certain things. I get extreme anxiety if I have to try something new or do something in front of someone with the fear that I may not be good at it. The fear that I may not be good enough. After reading the transcript I think a lightbulb went off in my head telling me that if I continue down this path I wont reach happiness or 'perfection', I will ultimately be doing the complete opposite. 

I agree with Ben Shahar when he said "If we want to live a good life, we first have to accept reality. Reality that constitutes failures and successes, emotional lows and everything in-between, and when we accept reality, when we accept nature for what it is, that's when we enjoy higher levels of motivation, happiness, and in the long term, success." 

Just a thought

On a side note - One of my all time favourite things in life are chickpeas! You can only imagine my pure enthusiasm/joy/scream at the top of my lungs excitement when I found a kilo tin of chickpeas on the side of the road. Don't worry I didn't eat them, but just to know that a kilo tin of chickpeas exists makes me oh so happy. 

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