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What Does the Fear of Imperfection Do to Someone With Anxiety and Depression?


Why did I grow up thinking I had to be perfect and do perfect things?

Where did this thought process come from in a 9-year-old child writing creative stories? Wanting to be the best in class, place first in competitions and win awards. Those were the first signs of my anxiety. As a kid, all you’re supposed to worry about is what you’re doing over the summer or if you have extra time at recess. I was worrying about an honors assignment for my teacher and how every answer to every question had to be phrased correctly and written well. I was worrying that if I failed any part of that homework assignment, my teacher would hate me and I would be a disgrace. Sadly this mindset followed me into my late teenage life, and I still feel the need for perfection, but this time it’s a personal goal. I don’t care anymore what others think, but I do care about what I think about myself.

Am I doing something to my own standards? Do I need to try harder? 

These questions buzz through my head 24/7. This is the anxiety that follows me around like a shadow, that makes me feel like I’m never doing my best and that I’m not trying as hard as I could. It’s something that is not easy to get rid of, especially when it’s in your head. Many people in life have expressed that perfection is important, and society pushes perfection on everyone all the time. But what does the fear of imperfection do to someone with depression or anxiety? It makes you feel like you’re not good enough. It makes you feel like you chose to be a failure, that you are a failure. Something as unreachable as perfection should not be influencing us like it has. We change our bodies, our personalities and our uniqueness just to reach the goal of perfection, an undefinable quality that no one has encountered in the history of mankind.

But why do we do this? We continue to push ourselves until we’re at our breaking point. People become worried about every detail of their life because they’re too afraid of what they’re not doing right, and forget to notice what they are doing right already. This endless cycle throws us around in a constant state of questioning if we could be better.

I don’t want to feel like I’m not good enough. I’m sick and tired of being told I need to change to make things better. I am not changing who I am to satisfy the unreachable status of perfection. We are not perfect in the eyes of society, none of us are. But we are different.

We are all unique, and that is the undefinable quality that makes us who we are. Not perfection.

I’m not perfect. I’m just me.

Image via Thinkstock.