A very important point for self-reflection. Has our youthful generation become overly conscious of ourselves, to a narcissistic degree of over self-importance? Is our demands for the ideal aesthetic, a customized and polished version of the individual, an obsession with ourselves as the ultimate adaptive social creature, leading us towards excess fragility and anxiety? Why this fixation and compulsion with making ourselves the perfect product?
Why this excessive idealism towards manufactured goals, and this unhealthy self-shaming when we can't achieve it? In this modern age, it feels like the gap between potential and reality is getting narrower. What was once unobtainable seems to be possible, as development and mass culture trickles down into even depraved hands. In relatively egalitarian Western societies, the individual is led to believe they are the master of their own narrative, as self-declared protagonists in a self-directed story, with an endless assortment of tools, facades, symbolisms, lifestyles, expression mediums, representations, and smokescreens available. The competitiveness to get the image "just right" is enormous, and the pressures that we put on each other and ourselves is crazy.
From an Islamic perspective, its in our nature to strive towards perfection, to become an ideal believer and human being, in the image of God's principles. It's natural to feel shame, guilt, and self-consciousness for our shortcomings and misdeeds, and a desire to conceal them (see discussions on veils in Islam). But the key difference is that Islam defines perfection as our base, God-created humanity, and not through the lens of trendy, built up illusions and enhancements, created by mankind as obfuscations. We were created perfect, and we must simply protect and uphold what's already in our natures. Our faces were born perfect, our speech was born perfect, our spirits were born perfect. No lifehacks, PR campaigns, plastic surgeries, role playing, focus grouping, or image building is necessary.
Peace will be felt when we submit to the real creator of our blueprint, of who we really are, rather than painfully burdening ourselves by usurping that role, and manufacturing a quintessential "perfect human", only narrowly useful in this very relative and disposable age. Which is why I believe that narcissism, perfectionism, and the increased self-importance of people is a sign of weakening faith, psychological stress, and social decay, because it questions and replaces the true created perfection of humankind with an artificial and contrived fantasy, often to serve self-interest, commercial needs, or both.
In short, to Allah, we are perfect and normal as we already are. Leave the creation and shaping of man to him, we must simply live it as he has revealed. Do not put more pressure on yourself than necessary. There is no value in pushing and punishing yourself for failing to meet contrived standards of beauty, behavior, or accomplishment set by the media or whomever else. Love God unconditionally, love yourself as you are, and be yourself. Do not adhere to rigid orthodoxies or values that come from indifferent and corruptible sources. Do not set personal standards for yourself that are based on fantasy or an illusion. Don't let yourself believe you are deficient because you don't have the right trinkets or crack the perfect tooth smile at the camera. Any smile, with sincerity and goodwill, will be important and valued by those who matter. Believe in yourself.
A brief excerpt from an academic paper on this issue of perfectionism among the millennial generation: