The Quest for Perfection Essay

Perfection happens when you are flawless, like a perfect score on a test. Perfection can also be the sound of your baby’s first cry. Sometimes being perfect is the friend that is there when you need them. Sometimes you fit a dress perfectly. Perfection is not something you can be, it is something you do, or how something is described. Allan Mallinger explains how most define perfection: Some see perfectionism as a laudable, uncompromising insistence on doing any piece of work well or a need to produce a flawless product or service.

To others, it is a troublesome pickiness or inclination to criticize, making the perfectionist a difficult supervisor, spouse, or parent. Still others view perfectionists as “neat freaks” who spend inordinate time and energy on cleaning, straightening, or organizing their homes or possessions. (103) To use Mallinger’s definition, perfection is a wonderful way of life. You get to have a beautiful existence, with everything in its place. If you strive for perfection, you surround yourself with perfection because you demand it. Too bad life is not like that.

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For many people, trying to be perfect often only causes them hardship, with the goal never met. Girls are often the hardest hit, with parents telling them to focus on what they can achieve rather who they are, and what makes them unique. This leads many into trying to control their bodies and getting the perfect hair, perfect makeup, and perfect body. Perfect body translates for many young girls into skinny. If people do not tell you you have the perfect body, you are not skinny enough, therefore not trying hard enough, which can lead to an eating disorder.

Another problem with trying to be perfect is at some point you realize you are not. Then you get depressed, and become that much more obsessive about being perfect. It becomes an ugly cycle that leads to poor self-esteem and depression. It is even worse when someone you trust holds you to the impossibly high standard of perfect. Glenda Pruitt’s paper, “Intellectually Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Personal Goals and Work Habits”, describe how gifted children are often held to an impossibly high standard, with parents expecting a perfect child.

These children have been known to suffer from “depression,” and are often “distressed over goals and achievement,” (54) leading in some cases to suicide. She explains, “Gifted students sometimes display opposing attitudes wherein they expend enormous amounts of energy and time to solve a problem or may feel they cannot accomplish a task and never even begin to try” (54). It is unnatural for you to expect to be perfect, but some would say it is criminal to make a child feel the same way.

Sometimes in life, perfection is unattainable because of its shifting parameters. Demet Erol Ongen tells us, “Neurotic perfectionism… involves the setting of unrealistically high standards and the inability to accept mistakes” (52). When you achieve perfection, it is because realistic goals were set. It is an unattainable goal to have a perfect body, while it is possible to get a perfect score on your math test. If you try to be perfect and fail, you will not know what you could have done better, because perfection is not always dependent on your standards. In Terry Patchett’s Unseen Academicals, you can see that perfection is better attained when someone else judges you than when you are the judge. In the story we see that perfect can be the latest thing to hit the market. It could be something that was not seen before, but seems to be perfect at first glance. Juliet is not a dwarf, yet she embodies the perfect dwarven characteristics while modeling the new micromail. It is a possibility that she is not perfect, but as the micromail is new, Juliet is seen as perfect because she fits it so beautifully.

Yet further in the book we see that perfection is, in fact, an opinion. Many dwarves go to the king and complain because she is obviously not a dwarf; she does not even have a real beard! Something else to notice, others are judging Juliet, she is not judging herself. Throughout the book you never get a sense of Juliet describing herself as perfect, or trying to be perfect. In this instance, we can clearly see that perfection is all about perception. That is true in life as it is in the book. A perfect day for one could be a terrible day for another.

Megan Fox according to most people is one of the most beautiful people in the world. However recently one of her most talked about appendages is not her crazy skinny waist, or her succulent lips, it is her left thumb. It is unique because of its size, larger than her right thumb and not proportioned to the rest of her hand it stands out and because it stands out, people notice it. Does having a larger thumb make her any less beautiful? Does it take away from her talent as an actor? The majority of the public does not seem to think so. It does make her stand out though; it makes her unique.

She is flawed, and if someone that beautiful and talented can be flawed, then it gives the rest of us hope that maybe our flaws will not outshine our talents or beauty. Perfection is by all accounts, hard to attain. Imperfection, however, is your birthright. Do not think for one second that perfection is what is expected in this life. That kind of thinking will lead to depression or worse. Instead, focus on being individual. You are unique because of your flaws, and those same flaws are what some consider beautiful. No one else in the world looks exactly like you, thinks exactly like you, or feels exactly like you.

That makes you perfect because you are perfectly, unequivocally unique. Works Cited Mallinger, Allan. “The Myth of Perfection: Perfectionism in the Obsessive Personality. ” American Journal of Psychotherapy 63. 2 (2009): 103-131. EBSCOhost. 29 Jun. 2010< http://web. ebscohost. com>. Pratchett, Terry. Unseen Academicals. New York: Harper, 2009. Pruett, Glenda P. “Intellectually Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Personal Goals and Work Habits. ” Gifted Child Today 27. 4 (2004): 54+. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 11 July 2010.


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