Perfectionism and other flaws

I apologise for the hiatus but I’ve had other priorities that unfortunately had to be attended to before I could justify doing my own writing.

Truly, I was actually working on an article about multiculturalism in Australia and corresponding opinions and advice on the matter. I’d love to discuss it further, but perhaps in another post since I’ve spent my last few days dwelling on the same topic that it’s driving me nuts!

I write for a Melbourne-based Malaysian magazine, and it’s quite interesting to see how it’s developed over the last half year. We cover community and lifestyle articles focusing on Malaysian-interest themes; I’d highly suggest checking it out for yourself:

Below is just a snippet of one of the articles I’ve contributed to the magazine in conjunction with Valentine’s Day!


Anyway, today I wanted to speak more about perfectionism, because it’s something I myself struggle with on a daily basis. I remember once going into an interview where the following scene ensued:

Interviewer: What do you feel are your biggest weaknesses?
Me: Probably the fact that I’m a perfectionist.
Interviewer: How about a weakness that isn’t actually a strength?
Me: ….

Needless to say, I did get the job and did exhibit a certain level of perfectionism within the role I took up. However, is it really a strength? Or could it just be a hindrance to feeling content with your life?

I started pondering this topic again when I came across an article in a parenting magazine I was reading in a hospital waiting area. The article discussed how some parents can portray themselves to be ‘perfect’ parents who always seem to be able to get their stuff together, not to mention their kids are perfect and have no known problems to the outside world. It makes people look up to them, try to emulate their ways and feel sorry for themselves for not being so perfect. And it can also spark jealousy and ruin relationships.

Somehow, I’m quite afraid that I’m going to end up being that ‘perfect’ parent. I don’t like exposing my problems, and I really don’t like being pitied or being asked “Are you okay?” and having people giving me loving words of care and advice. And of course, I know people mean well but it makes me feel awkward, hence I’d rather just not mention it in the first place.

In fact, I don’t even like letting people know that I’m feeling sick, to a point where I’ve had to be carried unconscious to the school clinic or taken to hospital because I’ve let my symptoms go unattended for too long. And all this boils down to my emotional need to appear invincible to the outside world.

Throughout my life, I’ve received compliments like being ‘wonder woman’, having ‘superhuman powers’, and some have even asked me to write a self-help book on how to become as successful as me! And as flattering as they may be, I need to assure people sometimes that I’m only human and that there are so many flaws beneath my skin that people just don’t see because I’m too darn good at hiding them.

And whereabouts has this perfectionist streak come from? I’m not fully sure, though from some of the stories my mother tells me, I’m quite sure I was like that from a very young age.


And tada, that’s me at a relatively young age! 🙂 My mum used to have my hair cut really short so I looked like a boy. She recalls that I used to be really polite, prim and proper even, at the hairdressers as they lopped off my locks. But the moment I got home, I’d throw a tantrum because I hated what they had done to my dream of becoming a beautiful princess with long flowing hair.

Not to mention, once I had a birthday party where my mum ordered a low-calorie cake. Yet again, I was on my best behaviour but when I got home, I took off my clothes and had a terrible screaming match because I didn’t like the cake.

I’m sure you notice the trend – that in public eye, I was an angel sent from heaven. But what looms in that domain of my home, and now more so in my subconscious; only so few people have seen that side of me, and perhaps that’s exactly how I want it to stay.

Weakness, or strength?


One thought on “Perfectionism and other flaws

  1. Correction about what happened after your 2nd birthday party (which had been attended by adults only!) : NO, you did not take off your clothes (God forbid! At that age too!!) and NO, you did not have a terrible screaming match (You wouldnt have dared with me!!lol) BUT you did roll on the floor in your party dress and did perfect “dying fly” exercises which you had learnt from Tumbletots!! Ha ha. T’was a sight to see!
    And all you sed when I asked you why you were having a tantrum was “I didnt like my birthday cake!”
    Definitely STRENGTH, this one!! 🙂
    Love, Mum

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