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3 Reasons Why Striving For Perfection is Harmful


Sober Recovery Expert Author

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As recovering addicts, we strive to be nothing but the best. We are well aware of the trouble we have faced in the past, so overcoming the obstacles and getting sober has given us nothing but motivation.

Because of all the mistakes in our past, we tend to do all that we can to try and be perfect. But what is perfection? We are often left facing the difficulty of defining something that has no set definition.

Here's why chasing the golden rainbow is a dangerous and fruitless path to go on.

There are several reasons why striving for perfection is an unhealthy goal to set, not only for the recovering addict but for every person pursuing health and happiness.

1. There Is No “One” Perfect

Perfection is an objective quality that is in the eye of the beholder. It is literally up to each and every individual to redefine perfection on their own terms.

For example, the perfect recovery process for one person is obviously not the same route for another. While some people choose to attend rehab and go to meetings every day, other people may feel that outpatient counseling and online meetings work better for them.

While the dictionary does define perfection as being free from all flaws, it is human nature to err. Everybody makes mistakes and when you continuously try not to make them, you waste the most precious thing of all: time. Instead, whatever you consider being your best is what you should be defined as your level of perfection. As long as you try hard, regardless of whether you succeed or fail, you are making the best decisions for yourself.

2. You’ll Miss Your Old Self

As addicts, we obviously did things and made mistakes that we never want to encounter again but that doesn’t discount the person in there. A person who enjoyed living life, taking risks, and making mistakes. Don’t forget who you once were because even during your addiction, you still had a personality that people noticed. Though you may have pushed them away, you still have friends and family who care about you and remember the reasons why.

Not only can trying to reach perfection change the person you are but it can also lead to unhappiness and eventually depression. If you’re constantly trying to please other people, you will lose sight of what your goals are. Perfection is not a goal, it’s a false reality.

3. It Is an Impossible Feat

While the word “impossible” may actually increase your drive to achieve this feat, it simply is out of reach. There is not a single correct definition of perfection—it is whatever it means to you. We often associate imperfection with bad days or big mistakes but we forget that bad days don’t necessarily equal a bad life. Just because we make mistakes or things don’t go the way they should do not mean that, in the end, you’ve failed.

What it does mean is that something changed outside of your control and so you do what you can to work around it. Perfection is simply not something that is achievable unless you turn it into a realistic goal that you can reach. For instance, writing a perfect paper that is a B or better—that is an achievable goal.

It is impossible to turn your life into the dictionary definition of perfection, but doing things to the best of your ability is the next best thing. And that's what you call the right kind of perfect.

If you or someone you know is seeking help from addiction, please visit our directory of treatment centers or call 800-891-8171 to speak to a treatment specialist.

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