A perfectionist is defined as a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. Some might also add that they are delusional, generally nuts, and stress out everyone else around them.
But I’m not so bad once you get to know me.
I swear I wasn’t always like this. I think it was somewhere midway through high school that perfectionism started to infiltrate my brain, but even then, it was only in certain areas. However, when I hit college, full-blown perfectionism took over, and just about anyone who knows me now will describe me as a perfectionist.
It is not necessarily a bad trait. I mean, there are a lot worse things somebody can be. Perfectionism sure has helped me both excel and go crazy throughout my college career, and now that I’ve got only one semester left to my senior year, I can see how it has both helped and hindered me.
These are the pros and cons I’ve discovered to being a perfectionist throughout the years:
Pro – You generally do exceedingly well on assignments and papers because you won’t hand in anything short of your absolute best.
Con – You cannot emotionally handle getting any grade less than an A. An A- might as well be an F, because an A- means you did something wrong. And mistakes mean failure.
Pro – You go the extra mile, even for things you aren’t necessarily interested in. For example, When I started weight-training, it was not my cup of tea, but I still worked to learn perfect form.
Con – You can never have that “I don’t care about this, so I’m not going to try” mentality. It doesn’t matter if you’re working on a diorama for an art class you had to take for your core credits even though you’re a PR major; you’re going to stress over it.
Pro – People think you’re someone who really has everything together and look up to you.
Con – You are constantly busting your butt to live up to that impossible standard and feel mortified when somebody realizes that you are, in fact, imperfect like everyone else.
Pro – You have motivation, determination, persistence, and drive – qualities that most people find redeeming and can make you a great candidate for landing a job.
Con – You stretch yourself thin trying to exude these qualities in every aspect of life, whether it be schoolwork or getting your hair to look perfect (seriously, that takes some persistence).
Pro – You’re excellent at correcting and editing things because you get a secret joy out of seeking out imperfections.
Con – You’re constantly annoying people around you by correcting and editing everything they do without being asked to do so.
Pro – People admire how hard you’re willing to work.
Con – People don’t understand why little mess ups that wouldn’t bother the average Joe can bring you down so much.
Pro – You always try to look your best, therefore coming off as put-together and professional.
Con – You can’t just “get up and go,” nor do you have a quick way of getting ready. If you’re going out, whether to a ball or to the grocery store, everything has to look perfect.
Pro – You are willing to try something over and over again until you can do it right. Therefore, you know the incomparably amazing feeling of watching something that seemed impossible become possible. For me, such is the case with challenging yoga poses.
Con – You waste way too much time and energy trying to do these little things, and beat yourself up when you can’t do them on the first try.
Pro – You can seek out and correct the tiniest imperfection in any area whether it be painting lipstick or painting a portrait.
Con – You have no control over your ability to walk away from a task; you end when it’s perfect.
Pro – You never accept failure from yourself.
Con – You never accept failure from yourself.