Do you seem to always find yourself thinking that you need to do more? Do you look at the picture-perfect recipes on Pinterest and scroll through photos of rooms that look like they have come straight from the glossy pages of a high-end magazine and think “Wow. I wish I could (do/design/cook/craft) that,” all while simultaneously thinking, “…there’s not a snowball’s chance in…” Well, you get the point.
Everyone has differing perspectives on what perfection looks like. However, I have a feeling that if you are a perfectionist like myself, you constantly feel like everyone is running circles around you even though the practical part of your brain knows it’s not true. Your idea of the perfect woman can cook like Paula, design like Martha, and look like Cindy. Every room in her home is beautiful and pristine. There’s no clutter. There’s no mess. No dog hair on the floor. There isn’t a lollipop stuck to the back of the couch. (No? Just me? Okay then…moving on.) As women, we strive for perfection. Some probably more than others, but it is somewhere in all of us. And it can be exhausting.
I always think to myself, “If I could just _______, then I will ________.” This leads to MAJOR procrastination which then leads to serious disappointment….which then leads to my face in the tub of ice cream.
Take this blog, for example. I got so hung up in choosing the perfect name (which I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist), branding, marketing, etc. that it almost didn’t happen. It took my husband and cousin (both amazing people whom I admire very much) to basically go all “Nike” on me and say “Just do it.” And they were right. I know myself. I am confident in the point that I want to get across to readers, and I know what I want them to get out of this blog. It may not be perfect, but you know what? It’s my perfect. It works for me right now…and that’s okay.
I was just reading an article on some abstract ways to avoid perfectionism, and right next to the words I was reading was a photo-ad of Kendall Jenner, looking…well… nauseatingly perfect. (And probably photoshopped, but whatever.) Basically, I was reading words that I knew would not really help because it wasn’t telling me specifically what to do, and I was staring a beautiful model in her airbrushed face thinking, “Okay. So how do I REALLY do this?”
Then, after much thought and consideration, I made a list of three ways to try to ease the pressure of perfection. I want to challenge you to do at least one of the following three things THIS WEEK if you want to work on the issue of perfectionism (which I assume that you do if you are still with me)…
Find beauty in the flaws.
If you thoroughly clean your living room only to walk in five minutes later to a minefield of your child’s toys, stop and think of ONE positive thing that you are looking at. “I have an active, healthy child. And that is a beautiful thing.”
Put it into perspective.
When I was an elementary school counselor, I worked with a child who had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He worried ALL. THE. TIME. We read the book, Up and Down the Worry Hill by Aureen Pinto Wagner, Ph.D. It teaches the child to think of their worries in terms of a big hill, with their biggest, most severe worry that they could ever imagine right at the top. Then, they are supposed to “map” their immediate fears and worries on the hill. Watching him go through that transformation was so inspiring. Here was this small child with such a big weight to carry, and he did it. He has gone on to live a very successful life. Do the same thing with whatever you are dissatisfied with. Think about it. Will the world really spin off its axis because the shade of red in your curtains doesn’t exactly match the red in your pillows?
Make a plan.
If you find yourself thinking about one specific task all the time (“I REALLY need to organize my pantry,”) then take the advice of my husband and my cousin (and well, Nike) and “just do it.” Additionally, writing out a specific plan with tangible steps and deadlines might help you actually follow through. For example: “Tuesday: Organize canned goods. Wednesday: Print labels to put on jars…” This way, you will be able to mentally check that task off in your mind (and let’s face it…we LOVE to check things off the “list”) and feel good about your accomplishment.
Letting go of perfection doesn’t mean that we have to abandon our goals. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to learn more or make our lives better. Of course we do. We grow. We evolve. And in doing so, we become the very best version of ourselves. And THAT, my friends, is what we call “perfection.”
Do you have any strategies that help you with letting go of perfection? I would love to hear them in the comments!
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