Ayla is 21-years-old and is studying Screenwriting and Film Studies. Her favourite poet is Sylvia Plath. Ayla decided to get involved with Student Life to share her thoughts in a hope that they will inspire others.
Nowadays, everything you do is measured in quantities especially workloads, revision, and exam results. Everyone talks about how much they’ve done, or how little they’ve done. This whole prospect can feel worse than the actual exam or coursework, or even the end result itself. For someone with perfectionist tendencies, this can ring true. In this month’s article, I want to stress why we shouldn’t get caught up on measuring ourselves against the ‘perfectionist scale’ and other people.
As humans, we define ourselves by our capabilities. We will either say we are categorically ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at something.
There is no in-between or leeway. A scale goes from 0%-100%. But for a perfectionist, 100% is never the end goal. Neither is 110%, or even 150%. We might see it as a good thing that someone is striving to do so well but, when you take a step back, it is extremely damaging.
Speaking from personal experience, I was one of those people who saw the perfectionist scale as infinite. I would get 100% on a test, but I never felt satisfied. I know I’m an intelligent and logical woman, so why could I not accept that this was, categorically, the best I could achieve? There was absolutely no possibility I could’ve got higher than this result, so why did my brain think I could? I was obsessed with flaws. If I got 100%, I would find something else to criticise about myself. I would point out how bad my handwriting was on the paper or how my punctuation was slightly off. Insignificant things that made no jot of difference to the grade I had received. It was feeding into my lack of self-worth.
What I am trying to say is that we should not measure ourselves against a scale. We should not compare ourselves to others. We should not define our self-worth by our capabilities. There will always be things we are great at, and not so great at.