Realism Is The New Perfectionism

Do you feel pressure from society or peers to be perfect? Are you feeling self-isolation thanks to your carefully crafted public image or the pressure to post on social media perfect selfies and friendsies? Do the images of other people’s perfect lives (even if they are false images) sometimes make you feel like a loser in comparison, or unpopular? Do you find that many people only post the happy moments on Facebook or Instagram, giving an unrealistic or false image of life?

Perfectionism is inwardly projected negative viral energy. And this self-doubt and self-blame comes in many forms.

To be a perfectionist is to want something frozen in time, non-flexible, non-changing, and not departing from the ideal. You fear loss, failure, rejection, and so you want everything perfect. Perfectionism is operating in a falsehood—it’s the perfect lie, because no one is perfect. Wishing and struggling against what is can cause blockages in your energy.

“All human beings have the capacity to experience a stressor that is so severe and so dramatic and so relevant to one’s own sense of self that when experiencing that stressor they can temporarily lose the ability to cope with it adaptively. And for girls, young women are socialized to experience their social worlds as being so salient (most noticeable or important) for the sense of self. There is such good and interesting research that talks about why girls are socialized to think about dyadic relationships—being a group of two—as being so important. And it makes sense. It makes sense that so many girls, after experiencing a break-up (or the loss of a dyadic friendship with a best friend), or another type of interpersonal stressor, particularly affecting a dyadic interaction, why that could be the stressor that for girls in particular makes them temporarily lose the ability to adaptively cope; yes a break-up is the last final straw that triggers all of these other vulnerabilities.”

—  Dr. Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D., ABPP, Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professor, Director of Clinical Psychology, Editor of the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Psychology.

There is such pressure on young people today to be ‘coupled’ or ‘friended’. If they are cut off from a relationship with a close friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, they feel that part of their own identity has been lost. (Who am I without __________?) It hurts so much, and is so important to their sense of self that they shut down, shut others out, and fight an internal teeter-totter of self-blame and other-blame. And simultaneously they feel pressure to look perfect, especially on social media even while they know that the social-image is just a Kardashianism. They want their lives, their exterior look, and their friendships to appear perfect. And when they’re not, it causes them great stress and inner turmoil. Yet, what many young people miss is that it is their moments of imperfection that people relate to and like the most about the Kardashians; the irony is that realism is the key to being liked.

Stop poisoning yourself with inwardly projected negativity; give up perfectionism and make realism your thing. Find what’s most meaningful to your heart, what you relate to, and then make that your social media platform and message.


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