Perfection Obsession Lessens Realistic Self-Awareness, Happiness

The story of Danny Bowman, a 19-year-old “selfie addict” from the United Kingdom, broke headlines in 2014 for his unusual obsession.

Bowman, who would spend 10 hours daily attempting to take the “perfect” selfie, dropped out of high school, became housebound and lost 28 pounds in a period of six months.

Bowman attempted suicide, but his mother discovered him and rushed him to the hospital. Bowman told reporters, “I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie, and when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life.”

Today’s generation has become consumed by the idea of perfection. The thought of a perfection-obsessed society sickens me. What is “perfection”?

The Oxford Dictionary of English defines perfection as “the condition, state or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.” But is perfection tangible?

Perfection is an unrealistic goal that can never be met no matter the effort.

I must admit, publicly, and even on social media, I like to appear as if I have all my ducks in a row in order to adhere to society’s values. But is conforming healthy? That is the underlying question.

The longer I look into this subject, the more atrocious it becomes. How did showing our God-given flaws become unconventional? Why is it no longer acceptable to be honest about the struggles we face daily?

For me, conforming is a terrible habit that is hard to break. As an 18-year-old female in today’s world, it is not easy to go against the grain. It is a battle to break the chains of society’s wants. But it is something we all must do if we want to obtain true relationships and unfading personal acceptance.

So why did Danny Bowman feel the need to commit suicide? Maybe because capturing the “perfect selfie,” his opinion, and in the opinion of so many other perfection-obsessed people, would open the door to friendships inaccessible to him otherwise.

People become obsessed with the idea of perfection because they believe it will provide them protection from unwanted hatred and judgement. People who believe they are unworthy feel they need a perfectionist mindset to receive what they truly long for— love and acceptance.

Perfection is not a real goal; however, happiness is. We should be a generation willing to accept people. With so much hatred, violence and truly tragic things already happening around the world, how can we afford to put more importance on something so trivial? Who cares if you have the hourglass figure, if you spend your free time on Netflix or if your eyebrows are on “fleek”?

Oxford Dictionary of English defines perfection as “the condition, state or quality of being free.” Stop right there. “Being free.”

Those two words should be the underlying theme in our lives. We have the freedom to be who we truly are.

So why do we so often ignore, even despise, that freedom? So what is the true risk? Allowing your own wants and desires to shine? Or completely deserting your individuality and beliefs?

How do we change this mindset? We first have to change the belief that we are unworthy of love and acceptance.

Living out your own wants and dreams will not always be easy, and it will take courage to do so. But the first step in doing so is to be honest about who you truly are, no matter who is looking.

We need individuality in the world. Conforming to society’s “perfect image” expectation is tempting, but it is not rewarding.

We need more. We need more honesty, more openness, more kindness and, most importantly, more acceptance.

image via gsmdome.com

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