Gigi, Bella, Beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle… and the list is never-ending, a perpetual loop of a huge array of inspirational women. Due to vanity and for various other reasons, we look upon these muses, follow part and parcel of their seemingly picture-perfect lives, but, once in a while, to put it bluntly, we secretly envy the impeccable looks of theirs, their charm, and simply the way they are. Frankly as it is, we seek for perfection, this furtive concept makes us crave for more and for more, we reject anything less. And we seem to be unalterable. We are neither able to put up with some of our flaws and quirks, nor have the courage to ‘lose sightof the shore, then cross the ocean’, slaying our own dragons. In the era of perfection-seeking behaviour, our standards and can easily play havoc with the mind, but still manage to be at the helm of the values and affiliations we hold dear. In a nutshell, the aforementioned phenomenon is called Atelophobia, thefear of not being good enough.
Speaking of perfectionism, an inner critic is familiar to all of us, it’s like one’s shadow, and whether we want it or not, it’s always there, accompanying us along every step of the way. Who would know it better than I myself, whose inner critic is nothing but a haphazard, severe, cold fish. I had set heart on listening to the dazzling whispers of my inner critic, but now I am losing heart, so to say. As my tendency to become an unblemished person swallowed me up most of the times, I took the decision to dig deeper into the subject, hoping that I might see beyond whatever is on the surface. While trying to find out more about overcoming inner turmoil and focusing on achieving an abundance of pre-set goals, Sebestyén Krisztina, aged 19, who has the strongest willpower, a gorgeous girl and a kind soul, a very good friend of mine, came to my mind out of the blue. She is the only person I know whose perfection-orientation is of another level. Last week we were planning to chit-chat over a tea and some scrumptious éclair, but unfortunately couldn’t make it, so I put on my coat, went to the pastry shop, bought some éclair, and headed to her place to discuss the issue of perfection while having some excess calories.
Stepping into her apartment, everything was in its place, the ivory, simple, yet chic interior was enlivened with several enchanting decorative elements, but in the middle of the room there was a lipstick jungle, in all the shades one can imagine. When I asked her what that all-pervading scent was, with a specific kind of vanilla, rose and raspberry note, she smiled, then answered, “Actually, that’s my favorite perfume.It’s called ‘Because It’s You’, by Emporio Armani. It just makes me feel confident.” As we jabbered about her inner critic, Krisztina described hers as: “sometimes it lifts me up, makes me feel like I could conquer everything, othertimes it hinders me, makes me feel weak and not sufficient. It basically diminishes my self-esteem, breaks it into tiny pieces”, she confessed.
The utopian urge to become the best version of yourself, not to mention the fact that you face some irksome staggers during the process in order to be a certain way they expect you to be, can lead to facing issues such as anxiety, depression, or even addiction and raises stress levels through the roof. If anxiety looms over, this malefic loop can put your health at a risk, since health damages such as heart disease, eating disorders, unexpected faints might show up while trembling and quivering because of the challenges that are up against. Moreover, perfectionism fuels fear of failing, frustration and one can become petrified of not living up to expectations. While crushing self-esteem, increasing procrastination and decreasing efficiency in decision-making, it can also be rather counterproductive in externalizing inner contents of the virtue, be them emotionally or even cognitively tuned ones. Krisztina, with a pensive expression on her face, confirms this idea: “In case I face some distressing issues and life is spiraling out of control, I blame everything on myself. For instance, when I was in a massive quandary regarding my future career path, I was down in the dumps and felt that I am unable to get over it, felt useless and that everything I’ve done so far was futile”, in spite of the fact that she is quite well-versed in multiple subjects.
However, perfectionism is not all doom and gloom, in many cases striving for more is worth calling the shots. It can also titillate and inspire us: “Many times it fuels me, keeps me motivated, in some cases I feel like I am capable of doing absolutely anything.”, as my interviewee confesses. Yes, you can feel like moving mountains, just until being at dire strait again. Nevertheless, the uplifting feeling of achievement can balance the seemingly lingering impressions of negativity.
In the hustle and bustle of a developed society, we are hugely affected by celebrity role models. Not long ago, Rihanna revolutionized makeup industry by the flawless Pro Filt’r Matte Longwear Foundation, which is available in 40 groundbreaking shades, offering perfec tconcealment for each skin color and undertone, helping women feel comfortable in their skin. On the other hand, there are some household names who got rid of the idea of being impeccable. Alicia Keys, feeling empowered during a shooting with a fresh and unadorned face, highlighted the importance of self-acceptance from head to toe, being connected to herself and feeling strong without any external factor such as makeup. According to her, women from all walks of life suffer from being brainwashed, due to the fact that every medium sprawls stereotypes and judgement, so she decided to be sincere in each aspect of her life, without trying to hide anything that makes her who she is. In addition to this, some huge fashion brands support the same idea: at runways from the house of Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Acne, models rocked the catwalk with no makeup (except for a dash of white eyeliner and blue lipstick, just for the sake of fun). Jane Fonda, still fit as a fiddle at 80, is also an inspiration who, after suffering from the loss of her old childhood self, an inner tomboy, the sportive lassie she used to be, starved herself at a young age believing she was not good enough. After a toxic quest for perfection and realizing that not even the biggest stars of the limelight were lacking fragility and blemishes, she acknowledges that “we are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole”.
Maybe perfection only exists in the maze of our minds, reminding us we have a certain purpose to be fulfilled in our life, or maybe, after re-consideration and perceiving the matter from a different angle, it should be a reminder that whenever we face an insurmountable situation, we should twist the plot. As far as ‘perfect’ is concerned, magic comes from within, our quirks emerge deep down from who we are, as Armani has said, “Because It’s You”.