Don't trap in the cycle of perfectionism
From an early age, Maithili was at the forefront of schooling, various arts, and sports. Her parents used to send her to various classes like painting, kathak, karate, and gymnastics so that she could develop various skills. The whole congregation at school and at home admired her. her success, perseverance, good manners, and time management were always given to her peers. Even after going to college, she was a dear student of professors. Maithili has always been at the forefront of participating in extra-curricular activities, taking responsibility for organizing festivals in colleges, and appearing for various competitive examinations. But as Maithili grew, so did the number of congregations praising her. Later, Maithili got a good job. The job also brought financial stability, but Maithili was not happy with everything she got.
When Maithili was young, she was never deliberately pressured by the congregations around her to take the lead in everything. Her parents expected the all-around development of Maithili. But the joke is that Maithili was appreciated only when she achieved something. So, if you want to get a pat on the back, you have to achieve something, otherwise, the rest of you will be disappointed, this equation slowly began to take root in Maithili’s mind. During this time, even though Maithili made some small mistakes, she used to get very angry with herself and still kept an eye on how to make everything perfect. Due to this perfectionism, while doing group projects for college or office, if the congregations in her group did not complete the project as per her expectations, Maithili’s life would be ruined. When things did not go as planned for her, her irritability increased. If other people are not working according to her quality criteria, then Maithili then started doing the work of sharing with others to make the final product perfect.
While working, Maithili went on to earn a Ph.D.
(Ph.D.) by sending research proposals to many reputed universities outside India. Her application was also approved by one of the top three universities of her choice. The whole congregation was very happy to hear this news, but Maithili was not happy about it. Everything on her to-do list was achieved so she always focused on the next goal. In doing so, she achieved many of her goals, but she was always afraid to enjoy them. ‘I have succeeded now and I am happy with everyone, but what if next time I face failure ..? Will people laugh at me? If people say that what I have achieved so far is only due to luck ..? ‘She kept thinking about such doubts. Gradually, these doubts began to affect her confidence. No matter how much others appreciate her, they are doing it out of appreciation. Who knows what they are saying about me behind my back! ‘
Although the life of all of us is not exactly like that of Maithili, sometimes we may have experienced some things in her life unknowingly. As we grow older, we begin to see how the people around us will like what we do. This process actually starts spontaneously from the moment you follow it. From this observation, we begin to build on what others think is important. Later, some of these criteria become our self-assessment criteria. Well-known psychologist Carl Rogers has termed these criteria as ‘conditions of worth’. Some examples of these conditions are that no matter how many physical and mental problems arise, we should always be at the forefront of study and work, expecting blood or marital relationships to be maintained no matter how ‘toxic’ they are, and that others should live up to those expectations.
Well, these ‘conditions of worth’ are increasing rather than decreasing over time. We try ourselves and others in a variety of roles, such as a ‘perfect’ child, student, employee, entrepreneur, parent, and grandparent. The moments that we have been eagerly waiting for months or years to play in this ‘perfect’ role, even the moments that come into our lives; But we can’t enjoy to the fullest. We are so engrossed in our worries about the future and what people will say, that the happy moments in front of us disappear like sand in our hands. Our focus is more on the negative than on the positive. Basically, these ‘conditions of worth’ are not always bad. These conditions often give meaning to your life. But when we treat these conditions as a line on a black stone, it increases the chances of rigidity or inflexibility in our life. So if you do not achieve something, some people think that your parents, relatives, or spouse will not love you and this cycle of perfectionism continues unabated.