The pressure to be perfect, and how it has ruined everyone’s life. An open letter to our society.


We are a society. And we have standards. That sounds like a good thing, except our society’s standards and expectations, that is, the expectations we have of one another, is perfection. And that has brought about what is called the pressure to be perfect, which is perhaps the chiefest thing that demoralizes each of us.

Of course, we don’t think or realize that the pressure to be perfect is actually a thing. Because we have cliche phrases like “nobody’s perfect,” it makes everyone believe that there is no pressure to be perfect– after all, we’ve all heard and said, “Nobody’s perfect!” All of us totally ignore the pressure society puts on us to be perfect, and that puts us in constant misery. The pressure is more painful to those who aren’t aware that there even is pressure to be perfect (which is all of us).

The standards of our society exceed the capabilities that human beings actually have. Here are some of those standards:

  • You have to be physically attractive
  • You have to be really smart and well-educated
  • You have to be completely kind all the time
  • You have to be really cool around other people
  • You have to be outgoing
  • You have to be in a relationship, and you have to want to get married someday
  • You have to be in good shape, healthy, athletic, talented
  • You have to be good at job interviews, taking tests, and following orders, and be innovative and original

Those are just a few. If a person doesn’t meet at least a single thing from that list, then they will be critically, harshly, and unfairly judged by everyone around them–labeled as “abnormal,” “other,” “different,” or “weird.”

Sadly, I think we can all look inside ourselves and realize that we have, at some point or another, had negative feelings of some kind towards another person because we thought they were ugly, or because they weren’t very sociable, or because they said something dumb. No one is perfect, but we all judge those who we see doing something that is imperfect.

Like I already said, these expectations are more than what human beings are capable of. Even the seemingly smartest, coolest, and greatest people will have their low moments and slip up. Everyone says dumb things sometimes, everyone fails to be sociable sometimes; these are normal things. The problem is that society tells us to be perfect, even though no one is, and we use that societal expectation to freely and immediately judge others.

Kim Kardashian, by doing photoshoots like this, promotes the idea that people need to be “beautiful” in the way that she is, thus reinforcing the pressure to be perfect that our society gives us.

You might have noticed that a lot of the standards on my list are really subjective. “You have to be physically attractive,” but what makes a person physically attractive? A lot of people think Kim Kardashian is very physically attractive, but I personally don’t. I’ve even seen her boobies (from when she “broke the Internet”), so my opinion is final. What actually makes a person attractive? What actually makes a person smart? What actually makes a person cool? These are all incredibly subjective things. Which means that everyone has a different idea about what perfection actually looks like. Which means that everyone judges each other according to unique standards that are absolutely impossible to measure, and that is exactly the sort of quality that should prevent something from being considered a “standard.”

The only standard, the only expectation, that we should have of each other is imperfection. With that as our expectation, we would all be perfect, because we are all imperfect.

The bullet points I listed are bullshit. Those are the standards our society has set, but they are fake standards because there is no way to even possibly strive for those things. It doesn’t matter what you look like, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, it doesn’t matter how you spend your life, it doesn’t matter that you make mistakes, and it doesn’t matter that you are imperfect in a lot of ways. You are valuable because you exist. Your life has meaning and significance because you are alive.

If someone else says something stupid or is really awkward all the time, it’s okay. If you make mistakes all the time (and, as a normal person, you do), it’s okay. You should immediately be able to forgive yourself for your mistakes and imperfections, and should immediately be able to forgive others for their mistakes and imperfections. In fact, mistakes aren’t real– they are a fabrication, brought about by our society’s pressure to be perfect. Making mistakes is normal. Being imperfect is normal.

But because the pressure to be perfect is so deeply entrenched in our culture and society, and is actively present in every facet of our entire lives, it’s hard to believe that everyone in the world is actually really great. All people are truly amazing, at all times. But we hold ourselves and others back by thinking that anyone needs to be a certain way.

No matter what happens, no matter what we do, we are great.

*This entire blog post was a really long-winded way of saying, “Don’t care what anyone else thinks! Do what you want to do and love yourself! And love other people while you’re at it, no matter how similar or different they are from you!”