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Realizing the Beauty of Imperfection

An unintentional destination.

Realizing the Beauty of Imperfection jillconyers.com

I’m sitting here writing this while in the back of my mind I know the laundry from yesterday hasn’t been folded and my husband picked up dinner for tonight because I didn’t feel like cooking. I look around my office and I see a stack of papers, and a long to-do list. If I click over to my email I know I will see a full inbox of emails to answer. That all can wait.

It may seem like no big deal but to me it’s what I’m inclined to perceive as chaos and messy. It’s imperfect.

Maybe I should have mentioned I’m a recovering perfectionist. There was a time when unfolded laundry and unanswered emails would have ignited a downward spiral of emotions that leave me no choice but to take care of it all and leaving nothing to wait. No matter how many degrees earned, hours worked, or miles ran a little voice inside my head telling me it’s not perfect and there is always room for improvement. You see, the quest for perfection is a journey without an end. It [whatever it is] will never be good enough. Let’s say you can accomplish perfection. At what expense? The quest for perfection is exhausting.

Drive and the pursuit of excellence is a good thing, right? Traits to be worn proudly. Not necessarily. Not when the excellence comes by way of expectations of perfection. When these traits come from a feeling of lacking and not feeling enough, instead of a place of authenticity, love and acceptance, you can get so caught up in the end result that you miss out on the details of life’s journey. That realization was a turning point for me.

When you come up just a little short of excellence, you feel good. As if excellent is good enough and accomplished. When you strive for perfection, you’re never quite good enough and the ultimate goal is unrealistic and unattainable.

We convince ourselves that perfectionism is a safe and worthy place. Something to be proud of when, in reality, it’s a shield of what is really going on inside. A shield that we think protects us from what judgment, hurt and not measuring up.

Realizing the Beauty of Imperfection jillconyers.com

A journey to embrace the true you, perfectly imperfect and beautiful. Here are a few things that have been helpful for me and that I always keep in mind:

  1. Tell yourself [often] I am enough and believe it unconditionally.
  2. There is no such thing as perfection. It’s an illusion we create to protect ourselves from being hurt.
  3. Live the true you. Embrace and accept all aspects of you.
  4. Let go and unlock the potential happiness in life.
  5. Those “things” really can wait.

Think about what the Japanese call Wabi-Sabi. It’s a word that represents an aesthetic that celebrates beauty in imperfection. It celebrates cracks and missing pieces and other marks of time. It’s the imperfections that create the beauty. Imagine for a minute, not only celebrating imperfection but actually finding beauty in it. (Source)

I’m speaking from my heart when I say, it feels pretty amazing to just relax and enjoy the journey of life moment by moment. Experience the meaningful connections and events that should not be missed. The little details that make life wonderful. Give authenticity and acceptance a try. You’re going to like how it feels.

Recovering perfectionist is an ever-evolving work in progress. Some days it’s easy to let go. Other days it’s a struggle not to wrap myself in the protective armor of seeking perfection. This journey is not perfect and I’m ok with that.

Join me and embrace the perfectly imperfect you. Embrace your authenticity and all of your enoughness.

Realizing the beauty of imperfection is an unintentional destination of a journey intended for another direction.

Be HEALTHY. Be HAPPY. Be YOU.

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68 Comments

  1. OMG Yes this is great! I am a recovering type A person. I like to have things ‘just so’ and struggle with not wanting things to be perfect. In the last year I’ve learnt to relax a lot more on things but I do struggle with guilt of all the things I ‘should do’.

    Great post!

  2. Jill, what a beautiful and openly honest post! Perfectionism, I feel, is often something many “go-getters” and overly determined people deal with being….it is a tough struggle to “let things go”. A to do list that seems never ending that sometimes you forget to stop and smell the roses…or be with family and friends cause your “to do list” isn’t done. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans”.

    My favorite parts of your post were:

    Let go and unlock the potential happiness in life – I need to practice LETTING GO more!
    Those “things” really can wait. – I NEED to remember this more often
    Think about what the Japanese call Wabi-Sabi. – I need to do some research on this!

    sending you love and positive vibes xox for a perfectly imperfect weekend <3

    1. Awww…thank you for your kind words Amber 🙂

      It’s a work in progress and I’m getting there. Baby steps.

  3. this–> “We convince ourselves that perfectionism is a safe and worthy place. Something to be proud of when, in reality, it’s a shield of what is really going on inside. A shield that we think protects us from what judgment, hurt and not measuring up.”

    you know you spoke every woman’s thought!!

  4. I love that Anna Quindlen quote. It’s my absolute favorite. Such an important message, too. Thanks for sharing this. I needed to hear it today.

    xo

  5. Perfectionism has been a lifelong struggle for me. I think it’s because due to some things that happened as a child that I had no control over, I’m always trying to prove that I’m good enough.

    I once heard Tony Robbins say that striving for perfection is not setting a high standard for yourself. It’s actually the lowest standard possible, because you know it’s impossible to live. In essence, you really have no standard, instead you have a good way to beat yourself up for not being enough.

    I’m slowly feeling the stirrings inside that I am good enough — no matter what. Lovely post, Jill! You’re such a rockstar and one of my favorite bloggers!

    1. Aww…thank you so much for your kind words Kim. I know who Tony R is but I’m not familiar beyond that. Maybe I need to be 🙂

  6. I have never been a perfectionist but many people in my life are. For some reason I am drawn to them;) Glad you are embracing your imperfect perfection:)

  7. I’m the same way – I’ve spent the past few years trying to let go of the need to have everything perfect (never happens anyway).
    Great post and something that I’m trying to remember every day!

    1. Hi Kim, we try so hard for something that is so not going to happen. Crazy isn’t it 🙂

  8. So true! It really IS exhausting and SO not worth it!!

    1. Hi Tiff, it is exhausting and I didn’t even realize how much so until I started trying to let things go.

  9. I loved this post, Jill! I’m such a perfectionist and wish I could get better at letting things go. Thanks for the link-up and inspiration!

    1. Thank you Megan. I’m getting so much better with “let it go” and the benefits feel great. Not easy by any means! You would think that something that can feel so great if you let it would be something we could easily do. Know what I mean?

  10. I have really low standards for housework, but struggle with perfectionism at work.

  11. This post definitely hit home for me, as I am definitely a perfectionist. I can’t come home from work or truly enjoy the weekend until I know, the cleaning is done, the laundry is done, cooking is done, etc. It’s hard to maintain that Type A attitude because it isn’t ideal. This is something I totally need to work on, so thank you for this awesome reminder!

    1. Hi Holly, I’m getting so much better with “let it go” and the benefits feel great. Not easy by any means! You would think that something that can feel so great if you let it would be something we could easily do. Know what I mean?

  12. Oh, Jill, this post is perfect. I too am a recovering (some days better than others) perfectionist, and I always need the reminder. I particularly love the Anna Quindlen quote. Thank you!

    1. Hi Megan, sometimes it’s not easy for me to “write from the heart” but I’m glad I did. Have you read any of Anna Quindlen’s books?

  13. This is so beautiful, the best blog post I’ve read all month! Thank you so much for sharing this quotes.

    Have you considered writing a novel, or any book? Your writing is superb! I would buy your book!

  14. I am not a perfectionist by any definition, but It’s been a rough week for me feeling WAY less than perfect and not good enough. Without getting into too many details, someone close to me did something that hurt me so badly. I was feeling good about the work I was doing at CrossFit and healthy eating and seeing changes in how my body looked. I will never be skinny, but I was embracing my curves and muscles and feeling good. Then “the thing” happened and it made me feel like whatever I do my body will never be good enough. That’s hard to take. I know I need to let that feeling go, and I’m trying, but it’s been hard. This post was just what I needed today to remind me that I should be proud of what I accomplished so far and keep working for even more gains. I am enough and I deserve to be happy. Thanks Jill!

    1. I’m sorry for what happened that made you feel that way. Accepting imperfections is even harder when our feelings have been hurt and our self worth feels crushed. Keep doing what you’re doing Cathy. You are perfectly imperfect 🙂

  15. This is a great post! I feel like i’m a recovering perfectionist too. So many words of wisdom and encouragement.

  16. Oh yes. I too am a recovering perfectionist and it’s hard work for sure. The scene that you describe at the beginning of your post is pretty much a mirror reflection of my home at the moment. It’s so true that perfection can create this illusion of a safe harbor but that doesn’t really exist, does it? Great post Jill.

    1. Thank you Christine. It is hard work and slowly but surely I’m getting there. Unconditional self acceptance of imperfections. It even sounds nice, doesn’t it 🙂

  17. Oh yes, I’ve had to work through some perfectionism as well and it is so freeing to be on the other side! Such an important message and great reminder.

    1. It sounds like you’ve found the answer to letting it go Laura. I’m getting there. Baby steps 🙂

  18. Man I can relate to the perfectionism thing! It doesn’t help to stress out though! (<-easier said than done right??)

    Thanks for writing this, Jill. AND for the link-up! <3

  19. Two Jills thinking along the same lines today! I’m also a recovering perfectionist. It’s gotten better over the years but I still struggle with complete self acceptance and sometimes just letting good enough be good enough. Great post!

    1. Thanks Jill! Complete unconditional self acceptance is tough. Do you think it’s possible?

  20. Thanks for another great link up Jill, I look forward to this all week 🙂

  21. Loved reading this. It’s a great reminder to stop feeling guilty all the time because you think you SHOULD be better. Accepting your limits and being okay with your imperfections is the first step towards bettering yourself.

  22. So true!! I try to get it all done as well and then realize I miss the most important things, like a little smile or just to have fun! Especially the last few years, I feel I’m addicted to phone and tablet and laptop. My latest rule, no electronics when the little one is awake. I want to give her my fullest attention. Shockingly it is not that easy to let my cell phone go. Scary!!

  23. Thank you! A great reminder to be happy and appreciate ourselves 🙂

  24. You already know I love this! You already know my thoughts, beautiful words, beautiful heart! Be you 🙂

    1. I don’t write from the heart (put myself out there) very often but I’m glad I did and your kind words helped me share it. Thank you Tina 🙂

  25. And when we allow ourselves to be imperfect we invite that vulnerability and freedom in others too! Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately–thanks for the post!

  26. Great post! I am reading Brene Brown “The Gift of Imperfection” right now and am really enjoying it. Have you watched her TED talk? It’s awesome…
    Karen@karenlovestorun

    1. I love Brene Brown’s books. Have you read I thought it was just me? I haven’t watched any of her TED talk but I need to. Let me know what you think of the book. Maybe we should start a BB bookclub 🙂

  27. Great post Jill! I can’t say I’ve ever been a perfectionist, I’m definitely not a Type A but I do have moments where I feel the need to keep up with the Jones’. A seemingly perfect life is never that way. We are all imperfect no matter how perfect we want to be.

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