30 days of self love – Perfection

Posted: September 8, 2010 at 8:12 am

Good morning! Let’s start the day off right with another positive message. Taking the time early each morning to write these helps me and I sincerely hope reading them helps you in some small way too. Getting your thoughts from your comments brighten me throughout the day. We’re one week into our 30 Days. Let’s keep going strong!! :D

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Did you know that something in this world seeks to torture us with its allure because it knows we can never reach it? That this monster tries to overtake our lives and bring us down because it can always allude us? That evil little monster hides in the ideal of perfection. Say it with acid on your tongue. Perfection.*shudder* Perfection. *hisssss* What a tricky little devil.

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Perfection somehow seems like a reality possible of achieving, yet the exact opposite is true. Perfection acts as a mirage in the desert…you think  you can get to it and then revel in contentment, until it disappears before your eyes and leaves you stranded in frustration. Then, sadly, moments later we will seek it again. Search high and low in this world and I guarantee you that you will never find perfection.

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Sadly, I believe all of us know perfection does not exist, but still continue to search it out like some sort of Holy Grail. We focus on what lacks in our bodies, our wallets, our lives, our families, our relationships, etc In the process of emphasizing the missing pieces, we create bigger and bigger holes in our own self worth and happiness. Our simple act of desiring perfection ends up leaving us with even less of what could be called a “perfect” life because we miss out on life. How’s that for irony?

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The quest for perfection acts as a drug. We want more, more, more to go higher, higher, higher but in reality we simply crash and burn with less and less. Less hope. Less strength. Less love for ourselves and others. Less energy. Less perspective. Less…until eventually we scramble for any scrap that can signify purpose or joy in our lives. The quest for perfection kills souls.

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To break free from the chains perfection binds us in, we must not only recognize that perfection does not exist but also that we don’t even want it. Imagine the vibrancy life would lack in a world of perfection. Our pains make our joys brighter. Our weaknesses make our triumphs over them greater. Our unique physical attributes make us all the more beautiful. The areas of our lives that we may wish to improve on make the areas we take joy in all the more sweet. The absence of perfection gives us a meaning to live. With perfectly sculpted and manicured lives, the passion and purpose for going out and experiencing life would diminish. What’s so perfect about that?

In what things do you try to seek perfection? Why do you even want it? How does desiring perfection actually hurt that area of your life? What would letting go of the hope for perfection do for you? Look for more reflection from me relating to this topic in this afternoon’s post. Writing this today was a mild reality check/slap in the face for me as well.

Quote to Reflect On
A man would do nothing if he waited until he could do it so well that no one could find fault.  ~
John Henry Newman

Once you accept the fact that you're not perfect, then you develop some confidence.  ~Rosalynn Carter

Unless I accept my faults I will most certainly doubt my virtues.  ~Hugh Prather

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*For more 30 Days Inspiration visit these bloggers who shared their personal 30 DSLR messages and let me know if you share anything relating to the 30 DSLR on your blog!

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109 Comments to “30 days of self love – Perfection”
  1. I used to think I wasn’t a perfectionist but then I realized all the criticism I put on myself is me being a perfectionist! So I’m trying to move away from it because I know I’ll never be perfect and I shouldn’t put that pressure on myself to try.

  2. homecookedem says:

    Oh goodness, I am SUCH a perfectionist. But I’m trying really hard (and have come a long way) to try to let things go. Especially now that I know I will not be able to have a perfectly ordered house once Baby Boy arrives!! I just need to get over myself and realize that being with him and raising him is waaaay more important than whether or not the glass door has doggie nose marks on it! ;)

  3. Leah says:

    I am not a perfectionist in most things, but this topic really hit home.

    http://l3designs-runs.blogspot.com

  4. Jennifer says:

    I’m a perfectionist in terms of my body. I know how I want it to look and any time I eat anything that doesn’t help me achieve the image I feel like a failure…which always ends in me bingeing…feeling like a failure even more….repeat. Endless cycle. Even today, I made really poor food choices and now all I want is curl up with my jar of peanut butter! Instead I am going to go downstairs, do my favourite workout dvd, and have a relaxing evening with good friends after that. Will I let the copious amounts of crap I ate go? Not entirely, but I won’t punish myself further by giving in to a binge!! Thanks for the post today :)

    • Tina says:

      I hope you were able to push past the urge to binge. I think choosing that moment to turn things around sooner is great. Have a fun night with friends and remember that each moment is a new one.

  5. Maren says:

    Tina, again you write about something so close to me. I struggled with perfection, that’s probably what started all of my ‘issues’ from grades in school to body image and eating disorders. Naturally I try to be perfect, I’m competitive and I associate perfection with seeming ‘put together’ and ‘in control’ to the outside world. I struggled with this warped idea for most of high school and it consumed me for four years after I graduated and started college. About eight months ago I started to realize that other people aren’t perfect, they don’t have perfect bodies, they are happy with getting C’s or B’s in really hard classes. Sometimes getting a C is just as much of a success as getting an A. Once I realized this, I started to give myself a little wiggle room in life and took away all the pressure. I’m so much more happy in life now, And I’m so much more in love with who I am.

    I know, from reading your other post, that you’re struggling with 30 DSLR right now. Please keep doing it! You are helping me so much with the daily posts, and if I were any where else in my life it wouldn’t be effecting me the way it is now. I NEED 30 DSLR, just like I think many other people do too. You continue to be my hero, your positive, motivating and such a wonderful role model. I hope one day to have as beautiful a relationship with God as you have, and to be an equally loving mother. You inspire me every day. :)

    • Tina says:

      Oh my goodness, Maren. THANK YOU! And don’t worry. I will not stop doing this. I got over the issues I was dealing with yesterday and earlier today because I realized all that matters is doing this and giving it everything I can. It will reach who God wants it to reach. Nothing else matters but trust. I thank you so much for your words of encouragement. You have been a blessing to me. :)

  6. Julie says:

    OH BOY! Today was definitely for me! I’m finding, however, that I can only let myself go so far each day with these reflections. I think I would not be able to function at all this month if I did as much each day with these topics as I could. They are really incredibly on point.
    One thing I can say with conviction is that it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one struggling in these areas. I wish other people weren’t, but it does help to know I’m not alone <3

    • Tina says:

      That’s something I hoped with the 30 DSLR. I wanted it to be a way for us all to grow and learn as a community. And I hope that this will continue in some way past September so it can continue being here for people to keep reflecting on or new people to begin reflecting on.

  7. [...] Posted on September 8, 2010 by tarynehanson Today’s 30 Days of Self Love topic is perfection and the struggle to get [...]

  8. Lauren says:

    Oh Tina…you figured me out again! :)

    I have struggled with perfectionism since I was a child and it still drives me crazy. I’m an only child so I got a lot of (loving) pressure from my parents to do well in school, follow the rules, etc. As a result I pushed myself really hard and have always set the bar very high (probably too high) for myself. Now that I’m much older I think my quest for perfectionism stems from the fact that I expect nothing but the best from myself, and when I don’t perform according to my own expectations I get mad at myself. That and my fear coming from not wanting to rely on others for help if I think I can do it better on my own.

    As a result, I’m a huge control freak…and I suppose my perfectionist tendencies are a kind of crutch to put the blame on when things don’t turn out just the way I want. It’s exhausting. I so desperately want to let go of it, but I think I’m so used to acting that way that I’m not really sure how to change the bad habit. I struggle every day to be more gracious to myself – just this morning I was remembering 30DSL and giving myself positive talk and allowing myself to be okay with my imperfections. It’s a long work in progress…but one day I’ll get there!

  9. [...] time to sit and collect my thoughts on what I would like to write with regards to a blog post on Perfection (Tina’s topic du jour).  I guess I am destined to stay one day behind in my response to the [...]

  10. Love this. I think many of us bloggers, especially, struggle with this because well.. most of us have that Type A personality.. if things aren’t lined up “just so” and things aren’t “ideal,” we freak. Or I know I do. This is not good. Because when will things EVER be perfect?! If you wait until you have perfection.. you’ll never be happy. And then what?

  11. Wow what an amazing post! I am definitely guilty of seeking perfection, even when I know I shouldn’t. I have a big problem with never knowing when to say no. I always want to do everything for everybody, and I end up exhausted and frusterated. I want to be the best wife, friend, employee, student, instructor, and daughter every second of every day!! It’s just not possible, and I know I need to learn how to ask for help or just say no. Thank you for once again opening my eyes!!

  12. I found myself doing this today many times. My Wednesdays are crazy busy so I have to post at night but this is the perfect reflection question. I feel like I want to appear perfect. I start every morning with a very step by step makeup process to “hide my flaws”. . . I went to class. . . School is a place I seek perfection. Often I find the perfection I’m seeking at school actually causes me to do worse. In chem lab I messed up my chart. . .I could feel my stress rise. However messing up my chart meant someone had to help me and I made a friend. I babysit everyday for a 4th grader and a 7th grader. I want so badly for them to not walk in the door and turn on the TV. I feel like a failure when the do. I need to open my eyes and see that it’s not up to me. . . I can only suggest things and try. . . and a 7th grade girl is a hard age. . . Even tonight, I at one point decided I needed to just get through some problems and accept that I may not be perfect at my homework. I know what I need to learn for the test and I needed to move on. However, seeing a bad grade made me sick to my stomach.

    • Tina says:

      Sorry you felt like that all day. It is eye opening though to go back over the day and recognize things that my stress us without even knowing in the moment. As for the grades – remember that resumes don’t show the GPA just if you have the degree. ;) And 7th grade girl? I know I won’t even know what to do with M when she gets to that age. Middle school girls are scary!! LOL

  13. Ela says:

    Tina – awesome again!

    Here is my response:
    http://ulteriorharmony.blogspot.com/2010/09/30-days-of-self-love-perfectionism-and.html

    I think it’s kind of neat that you’re posting early morning on the east coast and I’m posting in the evening in Alaska – we roll all the way through the day that way!
    love
    Ela

  14. Shayna says:

    Wow, this one definitely hits home. I feel like a failure if I don’t have lunches packed, breakfast cooked, dishes done, work done, workout in, dinner cooked, dishes done again, house cleaned, Shayna cleaned…you get the drift :) and that’s every day! I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a perfect wife. I guess I do it because that’s what I “think” makes me such a good wife. It’s in my unperfect moments, however, that we have the most fun :)

    • Tina says:

      What a good point. We do things because we think its whats needed, when in reality simply being ourselves and in the moment creates the best memories. Great thoughts.

  15. Eliza says:

    Sorry I’m behind, but I wanted to comment on this because its one of the reasons I starting writing on my blog-

    I try to perfect the future. As in, my life 7 years from now is going to be totally perfect. Babies, a new farmhouse that we’ve built, with a large garden and some animals, a shiny new Lexus, really nice clothes- totally perfect.
    I’ve always done this- lived half in the day to day and half in the future. Fantasizing about how great my life will be when…
    My life is great now, and I do enjoy it, but the issue is that it never gets perfect, you know? You still have to do the dishes, and I’ll still get pimples, and there will be even more laundry to do, and maybe the lexus won’t happen right away (ha! or ever!), maybe something will be wrong with one of the babies, maybe my partner will die in a car accident….maybe I fantasize about a perfect future because the alternative hurts too much once I get going?
    And when the future comes, I probably won’t even notice that its here.

    Daydreaming is fine for me, and I don’t know why I would daydream about a miserable future, so this is probably all very normal. But it also has always bothered me. So I do my best to imagine the less-than-perfect things too (like the dishes, not the car accident) and try to ground myself in the present as much as I can.

    • Tina says:

      I do that too! Where I have hopes for the future and it can sometimes inhibit me from fully appreciating and focusing on the here and now. Like you said, its normal to think about the future and have goals but not daydream so much that we don’t recognize whats right in front of us.

  16. Marcia says:

    Perfection- I know it’s not attainable so I don’t even try. Maybe I have let go too much though and slack in too many areas of my life. Tina, you make me think a lot! thanks!!!!

    http://healthylivingadventures.blogspot.com/2010/09/30-days-of-self-love-perfection-day-8.html

  17. Kristy says:

    Amen! I finally am free from the desire to be “perfect”.

  18. Finally got my thoughts together on perfection. Here’s what I had to say.

    http://bit.ly/a0pCkw

    Perfection, so close, but always out of our reach.

  19. KristenV says:

    I’m just catching up…but man, this hit me HARD! I’m always striving for perfection. I’m the oldest child in my family, so I think it partially stems from that and me just being Type A!

    I always think about what I should be, what I should look like, where I should live, what my car should be etc. Its a never ending cycle that doesn’t let in the wonderous stuff happening in my life right now. My husband has pointed this out at several junctures and it has started to sink in (just don’t tell him that!).
    Thanks for writing posts that make me think!

  20. Man. What a perfect post. (I’ve been reading every day, but between a SUPER busy work week and a nasty butt cold, I’m lacking energy to even hit keys.)

    I have spent my whole entire life trying to perfect myself. I wrote a blog post a while back on wanting to be my “so-so” self. I don’t want to strive for perfection, because it makes everything you’re doing NOT worth it. I say this because while I’m trying to perfect everything I do, everything I am, everything I say, etc. etc. etc., I’m allowing life to pass me by without even stopping to take a glimpse at the important things around me.

    For instance, I’ve been trying to be a perfect wife. My hubby’s had a few moments of weakness by talking to women online. (Lucky for him, it wasn’t physical…phew. Not sure if I have the heart to let him go even if it were.) After those moments, I quickly went into “perfect wife” high gear. In the midst of always focusing on how I’m taking care of everything (especially him), I wasn’t seeing what he REALLY needed: attention. This worsened the situation. I made him feel like I was doing a JOB.

    The same goes for my body. I was in search of a six pack. I was in search of a nice, round Spanish booty. Hi, there’s not a single ounce of Spanish in me. How would I even achieve that? “hi stupid, you’re German and Polish. You’re bred to love dessert and your family’s naturally thick. Move on sista…” Now, I don’t want a six pack. I still want a flat tummy, but only because I’m tired of feeling uncomfortable. I hate that I continue to have a pull-your-shirt-out-of-your-roll reflex. I don’t want that. I’m flat-tummied now all the way down to my belly button. After that, it’s all downhill from there tummy-wise. I have two beautiful girls…I think they’re well worth the mommy tire, don’t you? ;)

    This was a great post, Tina…it really made me think about what happens when I focus my life on perfection. I don’t want to miss out on the beauty of imperfection. Besides, the only one that’s perfect in life is God.

  21. Robyn says:

    Tina

    I follwed a link from Nourishing the Soul today to check out your blog. I have spent the last hour reading past posts. I would love to be on your e-mail list.

    I am working on recovery from an ED. Perfectionism is a HUGE component within EDs. I am working on and learning to free myself from the unreasonable stadards that ED says I must follow.

    I try my best to take one day at a time w/ life and recovery. Sometimes I have to break my day down into segments to keep focused on and moving forward.

    Robyn

    • Tina says:

      Hi Robyn! I’m so glad that you feel this can be a positive place for you. I love that we can help each other with down times in the blog world. Just like you did for me with that uplifting comment on my “weak moments” post. Thank you! I definitely added you to the email list so you should get the first link tomorrow morning. :)

      I hope to get to connect with you more and thank you so much for stopping by!

      PS – One day at a time is the only way to do it. And we always have to remember all those days we care for ourself add up so one off one won’t drag us down. Have a great one!

  22. I Love reading your blog and I loved this post.
    I am reminded of Shel Silverstein’s “The Missing Piece”…if you have never read it, please do! It would be great to have on your little girl’s bookshelf. However…..she seems pretty perfect to me (insanely beautiful and cute).

    ~Missy

  23. lu says:

    another great post! I’ve always struggled with perfection, I’m alway making endless lists of things to do and miss great opportunities because I’m not perfect/I don’t look exactly how I want to etc… I’m scared that if I’m not perfect, I won’t be other people- hence lack of confidence, and jelousy… I really need to start liking myself, I know I’m missing so much in life, concentrating on all the wrong things. it’s so hard though

    greetings from europe:)

  24. [...] more beautiful than all of that, however, is what makes up who we are. None of us are perfect, but all of us are wonderful. We each have our own strengths which can help uplift others. We each have our own passions, which [...]

  25. [...] Tina says in her blog In the process of emphasizing the missing pieces, we create bigger and bigger holes in our own self worth and happiness. Our simple act of desiring perfection ends up leaving us with even less of what could be called a “perfect” life because we miss out on life. [...]

  26. [...] 2 of my 30 days of self-love kicks off with a topic I regularly discuss in this blog. Desiring perfection. Perfection somehow seems like a reality possible of achieving, yet the exact opposite is true. [...]

  27. [...] is the next topic up for discussion in the 30 days series I started from over on Faith, Fitness, Fun.  And if asked if I think of myself as a Perfectionist, [...]

  28. Kiah says:

    Thanks for putting this together! When I saw the section ‘Perfection’ I knew I had to check it out. I just ran a 5k, and battled neg. self-talk the whole time. This is a great idea, and I can’t wait to read more. Thanks for sharing!

    • Tina says:

      So glad the post was there when you needed it. Negative self-talk…it can get the best of us. But we just have to stay strong to manage it. Great job. :)

  29. [...] today’s reflection, Tina asks us to remember that anything that is perfect is dead: that the imperfections make things beautiful and [...]

  30. Xandria says:

    I seek perfection through my body and my voice. I always feel for some reason something on my body needs to change. I exercise quiet a lot when I get the chance. And probably more for the results than out of enjoyment. But I weigh 126 and am not fat. I just feel disproportioned. And I wish I wasn’t. I have also been singing for about 9 years and sing a lot with my best friend, whom to my ears has a prettier voice than mine. So alone, I practice practice practice. Until sometimes my throat hurts. I just aspire to be her.
    I think if I let go of needing to be perfect, I could learn to love my body for what it is and focus on exercising to stay in shape and have fun! And I will learn to accept and love my voice for just a different style than that of my best friend’s. And I will be able to fully allow my passion to guide and lead me to something great with my love for myself.

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