Sunday, June 5, 2011

Perfectionism - the obsolete desire driving towards depression

Attaining perfection – it’s the ultimate catch-22. The goal is admirable and lofty, yet rationally, unattainable.

Human beings are constantly bombarded with visions of improvement, betterment, evolution towards the better of their current status. We could say it’s a Western, socio-economic, competitively-fuelled, technologically-advanced problem, but not necessarily – even in the most basic and grassroots village of a third world country, you will find someone who has evolved past what others at the time can attain.

Yes, its human nature to be competitive, to strive for more, to believe we are constantly moving towards bigger, better, deeper into reality-enhancing and improving. Without admitting it, we move towards realities which are more perfect than the current one.

But does the pursuit ever stop? And what impact does it have on our psyches?

Without getting all psychological, there is no doubt that the pursuit of perfection eventually evokes obsession. Never satisfied with the present, forever chasing the future reality, which once attained fuels further pursuit – no wonder a person feels detached from the world, but confident each new step forward will bring reward and finally, rest. Rest from the chase. But setting perfectionism as a goal, defining the parameters of life that will ensure your eternal happiness, is a futile and mind-boggling concept. It’s like an atomic chain reaction – once set off, the connections created are boundless, until an opposing force is strong enough to bring them to an end.

And here is where I throw depression into the mix – having invested so much time, energy into perfecting our lives, we lose touch with the ‘real’ reality happening in the present, with loved ones, work, family – things that meant a lot to us. Ultimately the goal self-destructs (or was never there) and a person realises that somewhere along the way they have also lost much more. So depression kicks in. In all my years of studying psychology, depression in my definition is a disconnection and impaired interpretation of reality. When you make being perfect your goal, you see the world through an imperfect lens.

Ending this article on a positive and uplifting note, nothing is needed more in this world than balance. Constantly monitoring yourself to check when you are out of balance and need to return back to the middle. Meditation is a wonderful thing, as you focus only on the present and clear your mind.

I always believe, “You should not strive to be better than others, but better than yourself”. Real, balanced self-improvement comes from making positive steps forward in your own pace, time, and with adequate resources. It comes from within, and provides satisfaction within.

Once the goal of balance is strived for, you become more appreciative of your life. Balance is impossible to completely attain, but that is why you appreciate what happens in your life, both good and bad. Because it is appreciation for the duality of life that produces balance and harmony. 

Copyright © 5 June 2011 SoulSurfer


mark said...

awesome blog chick.. can't wait to catch up now i'm back in the country x

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