The pressure of perfect

By Molly Seaman
November 7, 2016

Flickr / Anna Gutermuth
Flickr / Anna Gutermuth
Flickr / Anna Gutermuth
Flickr / Anna Gutermuth

Get good grades. Be involved. The pressure of perfect.

Get a good job. Pay off your bills. The pressure of perfect.

Be happy. Do not let the world see what you are really feeling inside. The pressure of perfect.

Have a social life. Be popular. The pressure of perfect.

Be skinny. Be more muscular. The pressure of perfect.

Recently I have noticed myself to be in a funk. Now mind you, it is that time in the semester where just about everyone seems a little more stressed than usual. But lately I have just been feeling, well, down.

This was an uncomfortable feeling for me. What do I possibly have to be sad about?

I wake up every morning with a roof over my head. I get the opportunity to work towards my degree as a student at Cabrini University. I am very involved around campus and have made several really great friends during my time here.

So what is the problem?

The pressure of perfect.

I have been struggling with this concept lately.

Just where does this pressure to be “perfect” come from? Ourselves? Our parents? Our teachers? Our bosses? Our friends? Society? All of the above?

Not to mention, what kinds of harmful side effects can this pressure lead to?

Depression. Anxiety. Substance Abuse. Doubt?

According to the National College Health Assessment, 33 percent of students surveyed reported feeling so depressed within the previous 12 months that it was difficult to function. Almost 55 percent reported feeling overwhelming anxiety, while 87 percent reported feeling overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

Graphic by Cecelia Heckman
Graphic by Cecelia Heckman

The pressure of perfect.

Up until now, I thought I was overreacting. I kept telling myself that it is normal to push yourself to these extreme limits in college. It is normal to not sleep. It is normal to feel this anxious. It is normal to be this run-down.

I thought that I should not voice how I was feeling because I did not want to bother anyone. Everyone else had their own problems to deal with.

I also did not want to let anyone down (including myself) if they knew how much I was struggling.

However, avoiding these feelings only leads to feeling more alone, which leads to the eventual emotional and mental breakdown that was bound to occur.

It was then when I realized:How often in college do we prioritize improving our resumes over bettering ourselves?

When did I start to choose the pressure of being perfect over the well-being of my mental health?

The pressure of perfect.

Now I am not so naïve to think that this battle for my mental well-being is over. Nor that I feel that this road to getting my degree should be easy.

Like everyone else, sometimes I have bad days, maybe even a bad week.

Once in awhile I fall down and struggle to get back up.

However, from now on I will get back up and continue to fight for a better tomorrow.

I will also strive to start to set goals for myself that will truly satisfy me internally because that is what is important.

How often do I go to class because I have to? Not because I get to?

So often we find ourselves simply going through the motions in order to check things off our to-do lists, rather than striving to partake in activities that nourish us and make us grow as people.

From now on, I would like to start to give myself the credit I deserve. I will make sure that if I am only getting six hours of sleep a night it is because I am working on things that will contribute to the greater good and to my personal happiness. I will strive to take a moment out of each day to take a deep breath. I will finally start to let go of the pressure to be perfect.

Molly Seaman

Managing Editor of the Loquitur at Cabrini University. Colorado Born and Raised. 21 years old with a deep love for people, travel and education.

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