How to Deal With Being Considered Perfect

It's one thing to be told your faults all the time. It's quite another to have someone act as if you're perfect and can do no wrong. This kind of "pedestal" seating is dangerous because it's both not true (nobody is perfect) and it's unfair (you have to keep living up to someone else's expectations). Whether you're being told by a parent, teacher, friend, lover, spouse, coworker or boss that you're perfect, you'll need to burst their rose-colored view of you before it entraps you.


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    Don't live up to expectations. You don't have to live up to others' expectations. However, you do need to realize that sometimes people who place expectations on you don't get that fact so easily. It might help a little if you try to understand why they have expectations of you. Some typical reasons include:
    • They want you to succeed at something they feel they failed at.
    • They are not very happy with their own achievements but believe you can do what they cannot.
    • They are not actually that interested in helping you make it in the world and hope that by telling you you're terrific, that you'll get on with proving things without their help. Yes, this is a cynical reason but it's one some people are motivated by when they praise others.
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    Be yourself! It might take you a while, even years, to work out precisely who you are and what you stand for, but keep working at it. You're always free to readjust your direction in life; don't let other people's expectations of who they think you are hem you in. Signs that you are not being who you are include:
    • You feel uncomfortable about doing something someone else has made you do.
    • You feel like you're faking it all of the time, not just some of it (realizing that everyone has self doubts some of the time). If the shoe never fits, perhaps it's never going to fit.
    • You try really hard to keep up with a particular clique, fashion, group, profession, whatever but it always feels fake and unpleasant to you and you keep gravitating toward something else.
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    Show other people that you make mistakes. If they haven't noticed any, talk about the time when you failed big time, or show them the results of a failure you've experienced. Of course, there's no need to wallow in it––just make a factual account of it and be done with it.
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    Don't let what this person says get to you. Instead of growing a big head, stay modest!
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    Disagree with their comments about how perfect you are. Openly denying their statements might be necessary in some cases, such as saying "It's very kind of you to suggest I am perfect for this... but I am only doing it because... you tell me to/I feel I have to/it's easy to do/anyone could do it/there is no alternative right now, etc.". Don't be mean spirited in what you say; they may think they're complimenting you. But do make it clear what you'd prefer them to understand about you.
    • When you disagree and they still tell you you're perfect, say something to them like, "I make mistakes, we are just as imperfect as each other. Only the other day I stuffed up X, Y and Z."
    • If the person who insists that you're perfect still disagrees, just ignore what they're saying. Or proceed to list some of your own faults.
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    Stay calm. When you get so frustrated when someone close to you says that you're perfect to someone at work/college/school, or to a stranger, and you're standing right there, don't show that you're frustrated. Just simply say, "I'm not perfect, I'm human. I make mistakes like everybody else."
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    Avoid self sabotage. Don't try to make everything you do worse to make yourself not be perfect or close to perfect. It's not a very smart way to handle another person's expectations; it's far better to do your best according to your own standards but to assert your right to make mistakes to this person.
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    Stay confident. Every morning, you might want to look at yourself in the mirror and say, "I am (insert name here) and I am not perfect, I am human."

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Categories: Managing Negative Feelings