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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not Perfect, Better!

One of the struggles of a recovering perfectionist (like myself) is that it feels like failure unless you get it perfect the first time.  Oh, yes, sometimes I fail to even try because I know it won’t work exactly the way I see the perfect vision in my mind.  Anyone else with this neurosis?  Please share.  Sometimes it can be very debilitating and I sabbotage myself by never starting, not trying or avoiding areas that could benefit from focus.
  • If I can’t fold every load of laundry, I don’t start one.
  • When I don’t have time to walk the complete path, I don’t walk at all.
  • I won’t have time to cut all the coupons, so I toss the whole lot.
  • My children won’t sit still for an entire chapter, so I don’t even start.

Do you see the faulty logic that leads to no results?  The end  is that the very things which need the most attention wind up being avoided and the problems compound.  There were two loads of laundry, now five (it adds up so fast doesn’t it?).  Weeks go by without exercise.  I miss out on saving some because I can’t save all I want.  Too many days slip by without reading aloud to the children.  These are just examples, but they can be applied to almost every situation.
  • Late for church?  Maybe I’ll just skip it this week.
  • No time to get in a full workout?  I’ll watch tv instead.
  • Can’t get a hold of the friend I wanted to talk with?  Don’t call another, just feed the loneliness with ice cream. 
  • Unable to give a large gift?  Don’t give anything, or worse yet - avoid the party all together.

No more.  The exact thing which you and I feel we cannot perfect is the very thing that will benefit from doing something.  The key is to start, to move the situation from bad to better … maybe not perfect, but better!  Things will not be perfect, life isn’t mean to be.  But certainly we can make progress.  The action of nothing actually creates decline so do what you can and let that be enough. 
Do you see how perfectionism hurts you and me?  I’m going to step right out and decide that the very things on my eternal ‘to-do’ list will get at least one step taken right now.  Soon these to do’s will be done!  Tonight it starts with a long walk and work on a birthday scrapbook.  Oh, and there are two loads of laundry ready to fold, I’ll at least get started!  What can you do right now to make something better, not necessarily perfect?
The paralyzing standard of perfection will halt any of my dreams.


  1. You might want to read Good Enough is the New Perfect.

  2. Thanks for the great post! I do this as well. Fear of failure or lack of "perfection" can paralyze a person (namely me).

    I'm always encouraging my son to try new things, so I've tried recently to set a good example by trying new things myself, even though I might not be the best.

  3. Great post! I have been facing my perfectionism head on recently, so it came at a perfect time. Nice to know I'm not alone in my struggles.