BVNWnews

The journey to imperfection

Back to Article
Back to Article

The journey to imperfection

Gavin Mullin, Photographer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






If I saved a million people, I would tell myself I should have saved a million more. No matter what I do, it never feels like it is enough. I am a perfectionist who sets expectations that are impossible to reach. If I am not perfect, I feel like a failure. I always feel like a failure because nothing is perfect.

One day, I reached my breaking point. After practicing the same music over and over again for seven months, it was finally my time to audition for the Kansas All-State Honor Band. I went into the audition room, and as soon as I played the first note, I squeaked. The squeak was the peak of my audition, and the rest just came tumbling downhill. Seven agonizing months I spent practicing, and now this one terrible five minute audition determined my ranking among Kansas’ finest musicians. When I walked out of the audition room, I expected myself to crumble into hysterics, but oddly enough, I felt proud of myself instead.

While I was not proud of the audition itself, I thought back to my sophomore year, and I realized how far I had come, not only as a musician, but as a person. This five minute audition proved nothing of my worth, value or talent. For too long, I allowed the idea of perfection to consume my life, and I am tired of living a life where I always feel like a failure. From now on, I am making it my mission in life to learn how to feel good about myself.

To begin my mission, I decided to learn why I am unable to accept being imperfect.

Licensed clinical psychologist Melanie Davis believes cognitive dissonance is a major component as to why humans struggle to accept imperfections. Cognitive dissonance refers to the mental discomfort of having conflicting thoughts, attitudes or beliefs.

“[These] people have a really hard time feeling good about themselves when they make mistakes, because they don’t know how to handle those conflicting opinions and experiences,” Davis said.

If I had fewer goals, I would be more confident, but, ironically, part of being a perfectionist is that I am always setting high goals for myself. Even though not reaching the goals I set causes discomfort, goals are still important because without them, I would have nothing to work for. After all, like my All-State audition proved, failure is a necessary component to personal growth.

“One of the most important things is we have to normalize failure,” Davis said. “Failure is just a normal part of life.”

In order to start feeling good about myself, I realized I do not have to change who I am, I simply have to develop a new perspective on life. I have to start with how I think about everything in life, with the ‘fake it until you make it’ mentality.

Like Davis said, “You tell yourself, ‘It’s okay that I made this mistake. I am learning from this now. I know how to try this task again.’ That will then impact your mood, and really color your perception of who you are as a person and how the world is.”

As I pursue music education in college, I will always look back to my All-State audition to remind myself that one failure or audition does not determine my worth, value or talent. I hope to use my knowledge and experiences to teach myself how to seek growth rather than perfection. After all, it is not the destination that matters, it is the journey.

Leave a Comment

We love hearing what our readers think! Let us know your opinions.




Navigate Left
  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    New technology brings attention to possible online schooling

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    The balancing act

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    The extrovert expectation

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    Project-based learning isn’t the answer

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    Students with an A should be excused from finals

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    Controversy in classrooms

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    The benefit sports provide

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    Letter from the editor

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    Marching isn’t enough. Go vegan.

  • The journey to imperfection

    Columns

    Mental health in the sports world

Navigate Right
The official student media of Blue Valley Northwest High School
The journey to imperfection