After years of therapy, I now fully embrace calling myself a recovering perfectionist. In my opinion, perfection is a reason not to try, not to start something new—all out of fear of failing. Being a perfectionist means believing that if you aren’t “perfect,” then you are a disappointment. It assumes there is no room for growth or pursuing an activity just for the pleasure of it.
In some way or another, we’re all fellow perfection seekers, even when we say we’re imperfect. The very notion of imperfection highlights the idea that lacking perfection is a flaw; it leaves us still clutching to the idea that perfection is even attainable, and somehow more valuable than everything else.
I don’t think there’s necessarily a way to outgrow or remove perfectionism from the core of our psyche; I think, in some capacity, we live with it all our lives. But I do think there’s a way to alter our approach to it.
This month, I want to talk about what happens when we learn to forget the idea of perfection as an option for us. When we, instead, begin to believe that we don’t have to strive for excellence; that we can be okay with mistakes and with learning; that there’s a way to be happy in the vast, messy middle between “failure” and “perfection.”
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s how swiftly our well-intentioned goals and plans can be tossed out the window. Perfect plans don’t exist. Goals are meant to be flexible. Life happens, and learning to become adaptable in our approach is something we can all stand to do a bit more.
It’s an act of self-love to allow yourself the space to both accept where you are right now and to fully show up for what you want in your life, despite the obstacles, twists, and turns that will surely arise along the way.
In the month ahead, our contributors will be writing about how you can develop a healthy relationship with regret, and ways to take a mental health day when you’re working from home. They’ll be sharing how you can become more confident in your cooking, and exploring how to find acceptance for your postpartum body. I’ll be writing about the often difficult metamorphosis process that occurs before periods of big growth, among other topics. We can’t wait to share this and more with you at the start of this brand new year.
It’s an act of self-love to allow yourself the space to both accept where you are right now and to fully show up for what you want in your life, despite the obstacles, twists, and turns that will surely arise along the way. To give something new a try even if you feel like you’re lacking in experience. To pursue your goals while also acknowledging they may not look the same when you reach them as they did at the onset.
If you’re waiting for perfection, you’ll always be waiting.
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BY Kate Arends - January 1, 2021
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.