WHY PERFECTIONISM IS UNHELPFUL

(Estimated reading time 1 1/2 minutes)

I’m a recovering perfectionist and to leave something less than exactly right gets under my skin. To be honest, I love when everything is neat and where it should be. There is a tremendous sense of satisfaction in knowing that the world is ordered and that all is exactly in the right place at the right time. Sometimes I even think that if I plan it well enough… do it well enough, nothing will go wrong. And when it does go wrong there’s this vague, nagging thought that it happened because I failed in some way. Not exactly conscious, that thought eats away at tranquility until it has holes.

I used to feel like that a lot – not so much any more. As I said, I’m a recovering perfectionist.

I love what Elizabeth Gilbert said about perfectionism in her book Big Magic. “I think perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear. I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified.”

I love it because I think it’s true. Trying to be perfect means that I am trying to contain my environment so that I can control the outcome. It’s exhausting and it doesn’t work because perfectionism always moves the finish line. I’m learning to be okay with the unknown, the uncontrolled and the undone. I’m patching up the holes in my tranquility in part by knowing that sometimes good enough is … good enough.

Give yourself permission to rest.

Here’s to living with clarity, courage, compassion and confidence!

4 thoughts on “WHY PERFECTIONISM IS UNHELPFUL

  1. As a recovering perfectionist myself, I couldn’t agree more. I used to think fear was healthy motivation, not so much anymore.Thanks for sharing Sue.

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  2. Thanks, Sue, for this very helpful blog. I, too, have so often felt the same way and blamed myself for many failures. Thank God I am able to live differently now because I have experienced God’s grace. Even if I failed at every turn, God understands and helps me up. I am free because of His setting me free, healing my thoughts and giving me hope. Peace is a pretty fantastic experience! Grace is God’s gift to us.

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    1. Thanks for sharing part of your journey with perfectionism, Jen. I so appreciate that you are reading my blog and interacting with it.

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