Pressure of Perfection

How many kids are under the pressure of perfection? And by no means do I want to sound cliche by this, but we have social media, where only the best survive. Only the best thrive. Those with the greatest numbers are the ones with the greatest qualities. Now, we don’t get to see what’s behind the screen, but what’s presented to us is this model of perfection. So kind of from just right then and there, we’re kind of communicating in a subconscious, nonverbal way that perfection is where value is. It’s where identity is. It’s where belonging is. So it really puts kids at a very young age before they can really even understand identity, belonging, and community. Those things are just inherent, but they can learn at a very young age, “That’s what I need. That’s what I’m supposed to be.”

Looking at it, my whole purpose in life is to give kids a child who they don’t have to heal from, meaning that they don’t feel they have to go kill themselves because they’re not as good as their fellow players, that they didn’t make the team, so they got to go kill themselves because that’s where kids come. Kids are like, “I can’t take it. I don’t want to live anymore, and I want to put an end to that.” And so the one thing that has to be talked about that the pressure of perfection gives kids is the lack of self-worth. If I’m not perfect, what is the measurement of perfection? Because your perfect is different from my perfect, just because of our different belief systems, our different values, our different rules for our values, and our different rules for what our beliefs mean. And immediately, there is no correct measurement tool for perfection. And yet these kids had this ideology that I have to be perfect in order to make the team, and if not, then I’m not worth it. 

Even if you watch sports news, network sports TV, or every broadcaster, they get clickbait on either praising the perfect person or criticizing and just articulating every little mistake that somebody else made on the field. And so now that we have this, social media is pointing us to perfection. But also within the sports world, we have this double layer where we’re going to praise the perfect and criticize the mistakes of both. And so really, what it does is, for young kids in sports, it kind of puts them in this really hard position because we’re talking about identity, we’re talking about value, we’re talking about belonging. It’s, “I have to be perfect to get attention, and then I also have to be perfect to not get criticized.” So what we end up doing then is having this pressure from both sides. We have this pressure from being perfect, and then we also have this pressure from “I can’t make mistakes, so I’m stuck in the middle.” And so that’s why I think realistically, when we’re talking about progress and perfection, there’s great power in progress. But really, when we’re talking about perfection, there’s two sides putting pressure on you: either you have to be perfect or you also can’t make mistakes.

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