I have always been the naturally rebellious type, but rarely for the sake of mischief. I can actually say it was the opposite effect. I rebelled against things that were harmful for personal growth and reflection. Didn’t follow the crowds or ever feel affected by peer pressure. From a very young age, I had no problem making up my own mind. Perfection was always one of those things that drove me mad, because perfection is nearly impossible. In a religious context, I was taught that God was perfect and since we could never be God, we could never be perfect, but instead should chase perfection in an effort to be as close to God as possible.
For a while I did chase perfection. Always wanting straight A’s, wanting to be the best, writer, the best athlete, the most creative. It was not uncommon for me to get overwhelmingly jealous when I came across individuals who were more talented than me in the areas I strived to do well in. My first meltdown happened in the 7th grade when I worked tirelessly for weeks on a project for my joint history and language arts class. I got a B on the entire project, but my classmate received an A on the same project that I had watched him throw together in a matter of two days, in class of all places. I was livid. I argued with my teacher for nearly two hours about how unfair this was, all the while she was trying to explain to me that while the details of my project were more thorough, his illustrations were more neatly put together. Since the project was more visually focused and less about the information I would have to accept the lower grade. I was devastated. From that point on I felt, “What’s the point of breaking your back in an effort to try to achieve perfection, only to be outdone by someone with a poorer work ethic but more talent.” I know this is pretty heavy stuff for a 7th grader to be thinking about, but that is what chasing perfection will do to you.
As I got older, I got more and more frustrated with measuring myself to increasingly difficult standards. So I stopped making perfection the goal and shunned the idea all together. Chasing perfection encourages input from way too many people on what the best methods of “being perfect” are. Coming into my quintessential rebellious teen years, I no longer had a desire for anyone else’s input. I still strived to do my best, but did not beat myself up for not being the best. This mentally alleviated a lot of self-inflicted pressure and stress but it also left me open to making mistakes that would take me years to recover from. Even after those mistakes I was still not ready to reconsider perfectionism. Why would I, when it was virtually unachievable?
As my thoughts on the creator changed and my perception of God became more centered on the relationship I have with myself, perfectionism started to become a necessity for achieving my goals, both materially and spiritually. Perfectionism is less about aligning yourself with the ideals of others, and more about putting forth your best effort for yourself. It’s about not being so quick to lean on our mistakes but instead, perfection is about always giving the God in you 150% of your effort. We will no longer be victims of circumstances, our vices, or be held captive to the behaviors of other people. When we chase perfection for ourselves we can never feel as if we are falling short of ourselves. We will always be improving within for the best possible outcome. We will ignore excuses, embrace challenges, and conquer goals. Perfection is nothing else but the continued commitment to oneself to be constantly improving and growing in the healthiest way possible. Traditionally, God is intended to complete us, to be there when we are lonely, to aid us in times that strength is needed. When we view God as an internal force not an external force, when we value ourselves in the same way we have been taught to value a higher power we are aligning ourselves with the idea of perfection. When we praise the God within us, we are chasing perfection, we are grasping it with every healthy step we take.
We must set personal goals, weekly, monthly, yearly, and remember to check in with ourselves and keep ourselves accountable. Perfection is the way we set boundaries for others, and raise the standards of how people are allowed to treat us. Ultimate love for self, manifest into the life we always wanted but never knew how to get. From careers to relationships, perfection will give us a higher sense of purpose. Chase your perfection, give yourself the love you deserve, and obtain all your wildest dreams. Excuse the excessive use of the word “ourselves” but I have to drive home that you and I are a collective, and by being committed to our best selves we are committing to a better world simultaneously. Perfection has made a strong push back into my life and in my perfectly imperfect Virgo way, I welcomed it with open arms.