How perfectionism leads to doom
Okay, so maybe *doom* is a bit dramatic of a term here, but it’s not far off of reality. In today’s society, perfectionism is a sought-after quality. One which parents dream their children will inherit. One which individuals humbly brag about possessing. One which is glorified by popular movies and television shows. Perfection is oftentimes equated to success and high-productivity; two things that are considered to be positive, right? Well, kind of. The issue here is not that the emphasis on perfection is bad, it’s that it is simply unrealistic. It is an unattainable goal that looms over many individuals, from school-age children to older adults.
Perfectionism is simply the internalization of the expectations that society places upon the individual. And it is driven by anxiety. The fear of falling short, of not being enough. And when we inevitably fall short of perfection, we tend to blame ourselves. And when we blame ourselves for falling short, we force ourselves to compensate. This can look like increased pressure, restriction of enjoyable activities or even basic self-care, and even more anxiety fueling us to try harder and simply do better. Eventually, this ends in a shut-down because we are not machines and we are not built for perfection.
How TikTok is a breeder of the perfectionism epidemic
While TikTok provides for us a hub for comedy, recipes, restaurant recommendations, and anything else one might need in a social media app, it also provides for us a visual representation of how we might be falling short. With “morning routine” videos that show us how individuals are somehow going to the gym, completing a 20-step skincare routine, and meal-prepping an entire menu of nutritious meals for the day all before working a 9 to 5, and “eat with me” videos that show individuals feasting on fast food meals while maintaining “perfect” figures, and “work with me” videos that show us the glamorous places that people are working and receiving full benefits and 6-figure salaries, TikTok has become a place to watch perfection at play. It has become a damaging reminder that others have accomplished what you want.
The foundational takeaway from this is that it is simply not real. Social media is one more outlet of media which pushes the agenda of perfection. It is a filtered, edited presentation of reality in disguise as a realistic and relatable look into how others are living. It is the promise that if you just work hard enough, you too can achieve this perfection. Remember that perfection is as unrealistic and realistically unattainable as any filter put onto a picture to make it prettier.