Physical perfection, an idea every man and woman has chased more than once in his or her lifetime.
Setting challenging goals of achievement for yourself can bring positive and negative effects to your life. Of course goals are important, we all need them in our lives, giving us a purpose and a thirst for life. But when goals are set that over-ride the normal realm of possibility, a thirst for life can lead to an obsession for perfection.
When the word ‘beauty’ is mentioned to woman of today, she is likely to run through a list of insecurities through her mind creating a notion of self-doubt, negativity and release a sigh of frustration. Since competitiveness in the beauty game has become the norm, men and women are almost prone to comparing their physicalities to others for a majority of their lives.
We have become a body conscious generation, in other words, conditioned to be a society suffering from, “The Never Enough Syndrome”.
Why conform to society’s misleading ideals? Why choose to give in to the status-quo and believe that you are not good enough?
If you don’t already know, the words ‘body fascism’ is when a person falls victim to criticism about their size, shape and overall appearance, often resulting in bullying, as they don’t conform to what the media portrays as beautiful/perfect.
“Perfectionism is a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” – Dictionary.com
Young people are more susceptible to criticism due to new hormonal occurrences and unfamiliar changes to their bodies. There are those who lose confidence in their appearance due to the negative and unconstructive comments they receive.
Constant negative comments can leave you believing the comments being flung your way and can push you in to proving your worth and capabilities and even force you to become a different person even if it is damaging to your health. Yes, there is a chance that changing who you are to suit others will help you socially, but not being able to freely be your true self is far more damaging to your psyche.
The fight to reach perfection can be draining and in some cases can cause a person to feel so self-conscious and so anxious that they become depressed and slowly loose love for themselves. Eating disorders too have a strong link to perfection. Those suffering from Anorexia for instance, have an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat even though terribly underweight.
It is body fascism and the need to be perfect that can contribute to a ritualized and obsessive attitude towards eating that can lead to anorexia and bulimia.
The gym has now become a catwalk where the body conscious strut around like ‘peacocks’. The new gym member can see this as too steep a mountain to climb. A few fight on to join the status-quo but very often the realists find other more comfortable ways.
As Marion Woodman, Jungian analyst and author of “Addiction to Perfection,” wrote,
“Perfection is defeat. …Perfection belongs to the gods; completeness or wholeness is the most a human being can hope for. It is in seeking perfection by isolating and exaggerating parts of ourselves that we become neurotic. Obsession is always a fixation–a freezing-over of the personality so that it becomes not a living being but something fixed, like a piece of sculpture, locked into a complex.”
To conform and be accepted has become a habit for men and women alike. Girls see celebrity magazines and see that becoming a success in the world of stardom is not measured by how talented you are or how smart you are. It all comes down to how you look.
With teenagers told that body appearance is everything, parents and teachers must be reminded to give equal value to different people and their various make-ups. Aspects such as personality, knowledge, artistic talents and all the inner strengths that might appear to be repressed in their struggle to achieve the unachievable dream of ‘perfection’. To remind them that the flawless images of the celebrities they see and idolise in magazines have ‘Photoshop’ and other post editing programmes to thank rather than 100% natural beauty.
For those wanting to become the “perfect human” as tempting as it may sound, remember that it is as mythical an idea as the unicorn.