It’s the ultimate humblebrag. You’re saying it because it implies you’re obsessed with perfection; with stopping at nothing until things are as magnificent as they can be.
“Oh, I’m just such a perfectionist. Other people seem to be able to move on from what they’re doing when it’s half done. Me? No, I need to make sure it’s perfect.”
What could be wrong with that?
As Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert points out in her Conversations With Richard Fidler interview, people wear their perfection like a “badge of honour, as if it signals high tastes and exquisite standards”.
Elizabeth Gilbert. Image via Facebook.
It's the clever, award-winning child in the family of personality traits.
The truth is, being a perfectionist is not always something to hold up as a shiny reminder of what kind of person you are. Yes, striving for excellence in life is admirable, period. As is learning to challenge yourself and set goals. But an obsession with it can be unhealthy. Damaging, even.
As Gilbert points out, the perfectionist label can hold you back from what you really want to achieve. It's procrastination masquerading as a positive characteristic.
"We must understand that the drive for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism. No matter how many hours you spend attempting to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it. At some point, you really just have to finish your work and release it as is..."
Watch MWN's co-founder, Mia Freedman, talk to Elizabeth Gilbert. It's amazing. (Post continues after video.)
While Gilbert might be talking specifically about creativity here, this quest for flawlessness she speaks of is something most women, myself included, have embarked upon at some stage or another.
Whether it’s our looks, our work, our mothering skills, our relationships, our bodies — the pressure to be perfect can be crippling.