Tips for Recovering Perfectionists
Heyyy, recovering perfectionists, this one’s for you!
Throughout my entire life of going to school, I always strove to be this straight A student, no matter what it took. It was this badge of honor that I wore with some weird pride I guess. When I went to college I did the same thing and really beat myself up for getting one A- which brought my GPA down to an imperfect 3.98. I thought it was like the worst thing at the time.
But life went on, GPA doesn’t really matter, and I hadn’t really thought about GPA again until I went back to school this semester to start an art therapy masters program which I’m not doing anymore—I learned a lot in the process though, and it was an experience I needed to have… but the point is, I approached school with a different attitude, one where I wasn’t trying to be perfect, I was trying to get the most out of my experience rather than trying to put as much of my energy and myself into what I was doing.
So I got a B! And 3 A’s. And I’m way more excited about that B because I never let myself get a B before. It was always this thing where I had to get an A and I did whatever it took. I burnt myself out over it and it wasn’t worth it. Period.
So if you are someone who always tries to do your 110% best and do things completely perfectly, the best thing you can do for yourself is let yourself get that B, or whatever grade, or whatever standard is just slightly lower than what you want to strive for.
Because when we allow ourselves to show up and do things imperfectly, the amount of possibility that’s there is so much bigger and greater, because we’re not trying to fit ourselves into this little box of like “it has to be perfect, it has to have this exact criteria or else it’s not worth doing at all.” Because it’s not true, it’s not realistic, and it’s not life.
When we show up imperfectly, as we are, it’s just so much better. Just look at social media. We really don’t need a bunch more people posting like perfect pictures and pretending to have this perfect life. We really don’t. We need more people who are willing to show up and be themselves and shars content that actually helps other people and not just be like “Ohh look at me, I’m perfect!”
Because honestly, no matter what our lives look like to anyone else, we are all perfect in our own way. And we don’t need anyone else to validate that. It’s just true.
So what you might perceive as an imperfection is just something that makes you YOU. And there’s no need to not share that.
The weight of trying to be perfect all the time is so heavy. It weighs on your neck and your shoulders and your back. And it just has this feeling of restriction. You place limits on yourself, not letting yourself do something if it’s not completely perfect. It’s not sustainable, it’s not healthy, and it’s not realistic.
As a recovering perfectionist, that’s hard to hear at first. It gets easier, it really does. Anyone reading this, thank you! I want to challenge you, something you normally try to do perfectly, maybe try to be like 10-20% less perfect. Don’t put so much time and effort into something. Scale it back a little bit, whatever you’re comfortable with.
When we try to make all these different aspects of our lives perfect, ultimately, we’re neglecting what really matters: deep connection with each other, taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, spiritually, whatever that means for you, and just whatever is important to you in your life.
So take a little bit less time to try to make things so perfect and spend that time just enjoying the moment and being present.