1 word, 13 letters, 5 syllables; defined as the ‘refusal to accept any standard short of perfection’. It’s primarily thought of as a positive trait, pushing individuals to be the very best that they can be, a mark of intellect.
However, within perfectionism resides two potentialities- significant improvement or more often than not an unhealthy obsession with unrealistic standards. The latter reveals the sometimes destructive element intrinsic to those who identify as perfectionists, a world where nothing is ever good enough and fears of failure are left to run wild.
“Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it’s about earning approval and acceptance.”
~ Brene Brown ~
If you haven’t already figured from the name, I am just that a perfectionist. Over the years I have tinkered with the idea of starting a blog, but avoidance tactics have led to ‘tomorrow’ turning into ‘next week’ and ‘next year’ and so on. Every time I would begin to write, a fear of failure would take ahold of me, putting a stop to any creativity. It is only since my interest in the social and moral debates that surround Christian Fundamentalism has grown, that I have sought to let go of any self-critical tendencies.
Ironically, certain Christian Fundamentalist organisations such as the Institute in Basic Life Principles, and the reality show ’19 Kids and Counting’, are characterized by their commitment to perfectionism, through the rigid legalism which they promote. The notion that humans are perfectible creatures forms the basis of the value systems used, with the temptation of certainty proving too difficult to resist. Through this blog I hope to provide an insight into the motivations behind these values, and to highlight the dangers of seeking perfection unilaterally.