Striving to be a perfectionist has its benefits – never submitting a piece of sub-standard work, half-heartedly cleaning the flat or choosing a duff holiday or friend’s birthday present, for example – but it can also wear you down. When you fail to live up to your own exacting standards – as you inevitably will – your inner critic comes charging into the forefront of your consciousness like an army major and starts reprimanding you for all the things you’ve done wrong. And when that voice is constantly pointing out your areas of weakness it can become both depressing and a self-fulfilling cycle.
The truth of the matter is (newsflash!) there is no such thing as perfect. Even the most diligent of cleaners or copywriters will miss a speck of dirt or an erroneous apostrophe every now and then. Does that make them bad at what they do? Far from it – it just makes them human. We weren’t made to be perfect beings – God (if you believe in Him) made us in his image, granted, but Adam and Eve saw to it that we would always be a bunch of hopeless sinners. Instead of aiming for perfect maybe we should really aim at being the best that we can be. Not that we should drop our standards – far from it, it’s important to set our goals high, it’s just that when we don’t always achieve the top grade in life we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves for managing a perfectly respectable B.