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The Potential of When You Let Go of Being Perfect

Let go of being perfect and begin the work of becoming your authentic self.

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 not seem like a big deal, but there was a time when I would have perceived things left undone or to-do lists not checked off as chaos and messy. My perception would have been, it’s imperfect and unacceptble.

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.

Strive for excellence and the best version of yourself.

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 an attempt to protect ourselves from what is really going on inside. A shield that we think protects us from judgment, hurt and not measuring up.  A shield we think that protects us from failure.

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)

It feels pretty amazing [and a lot less exhausting] 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.

Letting go of perfection 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.

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

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

be the best version of YOU

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30 Comments

  1. I’m glad that I’m not perfect and that I’ve accepted that I don’t have to be perfect.

    xoxo
    Radhika

  2. Really loved this post! Something I really needed to hear as I am a perfectionist. It leaves me constantly dissatisfied with everything I do, because I could’ve done better. I really need to learn to embrace the beauty of imperfection and let go of some of these extra things that really aren’t that important.

  3. Jill, this is powerful and hits to the core! I am recognizing sometimes I let a messy house mess with my head. In reality, it’s just a few things that need to be put away – NO BIGS. But, I will let it overwhelm me. So silly. You truly have a gift. Thanks for sharing it! Much love!

  4. When you let go of trying to be perfect, you are able to be your truest self. I think its better to just be your best self ! Good luck girl!

    1. Beautiful words Oyinkan! I’ve got this and no longer stuck in the perfectionist trap. So nice to meet you.

  5. Great post! I love the quote by Brene Brown. It’s so easy to get caught up in perfection, or what we perceive to be perfection, that we forget about the journey.

  6. Guilty as hell. I’m a perfectionist as well. I love the quotes. Really got my attention. Thanks

  7. This post really hit me. I strive for perfection and feel so inadequate. I am now learning to take things easy since Rome was not built in a day.

  8. This is such an amazing post! You have just pointed many people’s pressure points. Thank you for sharing and providing the push many need 🙂

  9. This is a great read! These words are so true! I think we often times focus on perfection when we are in the health profession & we need to realize to let go, so we can then help our clients let go as well.

  10. We all need this reminder every once in a while, and I’m so happy I came across this today. Thank you for writing it, it brightened my day!

  11. I’ve struggled with letting go quite a bit, this was really helpful to read. thanks for sharing <3

    1. Hi Abbey. Once you decide you’re going to let go it eventually becomes less of a struggle. Have a great evening.

    1. The good news Deborah is it does get easier. Definitely not an easy habit to break in the beginning.

  12. Shane Prather says:

    This is an issue I’ve struggled with for many years as well. I’d like to say I’m a recovered perfectionist – but know it’s a lifelong battle!

    1. Hi Shane, you can get to a place where it doesn’t feel like such a battle. More of a bad day every now and then. Have a wonderful rest of Monday!

  13. What an nice uplifting message today! Be the best version of you- that is what I am working on while I am off- finding my best me- letting all that stress melt away!

    1. Stress melt away for us all! I think I have found the best me. It’s about time right.

      Have a wonderful Monday Mary Beth.

  14. there are few things i just have a very hard time letting go of..like letting dishes pile up or cleaning up around the house. over the week, i let things slide by because its just hectic but i dont like starting Monday morning with mess everywhere. and the paper, taxes, and email – it gives me slight heart burn just thinking of it.

    1. At least you’re able to let things slide during the week. Have a wonderful day Dixya.

  15. So beautiful and so true! Trying to be perfect is exhausting, but it is hard not to get wrapped into it in today’s society when we constantly are comparing ourselves to others. Since I am on social media all the time, I have finally found a community that I have surrounded myself with who are inspiring, not perfect, honest, and always a great reminder to love the skin I am in. Have a great weekend! XOXO

  16. This is so uplifting and perfect for today. I’m really feeling like I fall short today, but this was a beautiful reminder. Thanks for sharing.

    1. You’re only falling short of your expectations of yourself and too often our expectations are unrealistic. Be kind to yourself Sam.

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