Perfectionism is the highest, and most socially acceptable, form of self-abuse.
I know this because all my life, I’ve strived to be perfect. The perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect wife, the perfect lawyer….
And you know what? All that striving is exhausting. And futile. And ultimately self-defeating.
So I’m shouting it from the mountain tops…..(or at least, now, the 2nd floor)…..
Perfect is the enemy of good.
Perfection is a myth. The perfect woman lives in the same zip code as mermaids, unicorns and leprechauns. She exists only in our imaginations.
Make no mistake. Perfection is an illusion. It is unattainable because it depends on perception. Not just our own perception, but the perception of others. And much to our frustration, we cannot control how others perceive us.
We can’t control what they think of our actions, our work, our homes, our kids, our clothes…not even our cooking. You can slave away all day in the kitchen to serve up the perfect, michelin-star quality dinner to guests who will think it’s the worst meal they’ve ever had.
Here’s just a smattering of what happens when we insist on perfect instead of good:
- We overlook or discount the good things in our lives
- We become obsessed with what other people think of us
- We set impossibly high standards for ourselves
- We have unreasonable expectations of others (which, unsurprisingly, makes us difficult to live with, work with and love)
- We have an exaggerated fear of failure and of making mistakes
- We’re more prone to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and a variety of medical ailments
That’s not exactly the recipe for happiness, is it?
So, let’s all cut ourselves a little slack – for goodness sakes (pun intended.)
Let’s strive for progress – not perfection.
Let’s aim for good – not perfect.
And let’s be satisfied with “good enough”.
Or at times, simply “done”.
Disclaimer: This blog post isn’t perfect but it’s done and I’m hitting the publish button anyway.
This is Day Three of the Pinterest Therapy Sessions Series. Click here for the rest of the series.
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Is anybody else a recovering perfectionist?