“I have done my best. That is all the philosophy of living one needs.”
Perfectionism—the word brings to mind images of order and organization, of effectiveness and efficiency. This is what society expects from a “perfectionist,” and this is what is projected as desirable and attainable. There is an aspirational value to being a “perfectionist.”
Many people believe that perfectionistic tendencies motivate people to do their best and achieve their goals.
However, I can vouch for the fact that it actually feels like being caught in a trap. There is a feeling of suffocation and dread at not being able to escape. The joy of living is sucked out leaving one feeling inadequate and incompetent all the time.
I don’t remember how or when I fell into the trap. All I know is that I have suffered the pain of trying to be the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect sister, the perfect friend, so on and so forth.
And I remember the exact moment when I realized I was trapped.
It was when I was fifteen and in the tenth grade. In India, the tenth grade examinations are considered extremely important. These are the examinations that would decide whether or not I got into a college of my choice.
I always did well academically, and needless to say there were expectations from those around me to perform well in these exams. I had to live up to these expectations—or so I thought.