You’re Not Perfect & That’s Perfectly OK

Posted: February 22, 2011 at 8:00 pm

A little housekeeping – I would love if you nominated me for this! I would be happy to nominate you as well. Let me know!

Check out my guest post I wrote for Chelsey…then enjoy a special guest post from Chelsey @ Clean Eating Chelsey here! Night!

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Hello FFF readers! My name is Chelsey, and I blog over at Clean Eating Chelsey. I feel immensely honored to be guest posting for Tina today. Not only is she a great friend, mother, and blogger, but she inspires me on a daily basis to be a better person, to grow in my faith with God, and to be everything I truly was made to be.

Fortunately for you, I have come to share a great message with you all today. I know you’re going to love it – are you ready? Okay... here goes nothing:

You’re Not Perfect

In fact, none of us are – and you know what? That’s okay.

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Somehow over the course of my life, my need to be perfect – my desire to be perfect increased tremendously. I’m not quite sure where my perfectionism came from. Growing up, I was never told I had to be perfect. I was never told I couldn’t mess up. I was never told that one mistake would make or break me. So what in the world was I so afraid of?

I suppose what I was afraid of was failure – disappointment – regret. My parents were as supportive as could be. I can honestly remember so many times where I would bring home a bad grade, bad report card, or didn’t do my best in a swim meet. I was heartbroken and devastated thinking about what others would think about me. I was so much harder on myself than my parents ever were on me.

Part of me feel as if perfectionism is part of who I am, as if it’s engrained in every fiber of my being. I can’t mess up, I won’t mess up, I shouldn’t mess up – those are thoughts that run through my brain constantly every day of my life. Sometimes I feel like I’m putting on a show, a big show (called life), and others are watching me, just waiting for me to mess up. Fortunately for me, this isn’t The Truman Show, and no one is looking in on me in a fish bowl.

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Why should it matter if my hair doesn’t look perfect one day? It doesn’t.

Does it really matter if others find me funny or personable? Nope.

Should the Husband have to like every single dinner I make? Not going to happen.

Yet every time I mess up, I choke up, I freeze up – I think to myself: “I could have been better.”

And you know what? I probably could have been – but some things in life are more important.

I could have spent a ridiculous amount of time on my hair just to make it look incredible – but some things in life are more important.

I could try with relentless effort to try to get everyone to like me – but some things in life are more important.

I could make my Husband’s favorite dinner (spaghetti) every night – but some things in life are more important.

So what is more important than being perfect?

Family.

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Friends.
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Laughing.

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Living.

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Experiencing.
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Tasting.
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Loving.
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Faith.

Life wasn’t meant to be perfect – we weren’t meant to be perfect. What fun would life be if every person never messed up, never laughed at themselves, and never tried anything new in fear of failing?

It wouldn’t be fun. It wouldn’t be living. So I am challenging myself (as well as all of you) to stop focusing on being so “perfect”. It doesn’t exist, and life is far too short to be dwelling on what others may or may not think of you.

Question: Have you ever felt the need to be perfect? What was the driving force in your fear of not being perfect?

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52 Comments to “You’re Not Perfect & That’s Perfectly OK”
  1. Heather says:

    great post, you are too cute!
    I am super competitive, even in silly things so yes I sometiems get caught up in that!

  2. What a heartfelt guest post! My parents were hard on me, but I’m sure even if they weren’t, I’d still be seeking perfection because of all the pressures in society.

    It’s tough to remember that perfection is boring and that there is no “one” thing we need to be, no “one” way things “should” turn out. It’s so easy to miss the big picture in life, one that is not made up of little perfections but of one UNIQUE series of events.

    I think it’s great idea that you’re featuring the positive affirmations of others, Tina. It shows we have a lot more in common than we think!

  3. Karen says:

    I am very much a perfectionist! I feel the same way you do about the desire to be perfect…not sure exactly where it came from?? Every time I sense that I’m getting caught up in being perfect I take the time to remind myself that nobody is perfect. It’s definitely something I struggle with everyday.

  4. I nominated you, Tina! Good luck :)

  5. Brittany says:

    Great post! We are all different and none of us are the same! I love Operation Beautiful– its definitely helped me to quit the negative self-talk!

  6. I have a healthy dose of perfectionism, but I’ve never let it control me. I think you have to find the balance between striving to be the best-of-version of yourself and not letting the need to be perfect paralyze you. Great post, chelsey!

  7. Lori Lynn says:

    I’ve always been overly hard on myself and wished that I could be “perfect.” In the past I seemed to have had the all or nothing attitude that my eating and exercising had to be perfect, and when it wasn’t, it usually got the best of me. I’ve had to change my mind frame (gradually), and though it’s a continual work in progress, I have been doing better.

  8. Amazing, I am the same way. I was never pressured to be perfect, but my own fears of judgement from others kept me from enjoying life very much for a while. Forgetting about what other people think and learning to ignore that voice in my head telling me to be perfect was a literal life-saver.

  9. Loved this post Chelsey! Fortunately, I’ve been able to pretty much accept my flaws rather than stress out about being perfect, but every now and then I’ll catch myself missing out on having fun because I was too busy criticizing my body in one way or another. It helps to pick what you love about yourself and celebrate your imperfections as how God made you unique. :)

  10. Michelle says:

    As a former perfectionist, I can completely relate to this post! I now channel my perfectionism in other ways (running is REALLY good for it!) and I attribute it to being the oldest sibling. I used to be really upset if someone didn’t like me or if I things didn’t run exactly to plan, but I have learned to let it go. Now I like “their loss” and “maybe it will turn out better (and it usually does!).”

    I do worry about passing it on to my son, but I know that through example he will learn that we don’t need to strive to be perfect, but to be the best version of ourselves — where we enjoy life and being with others.

  11. what a great post! i continually struggle with the urge for perfectionism. i end up beating myself up for my mistakes (and yep, i for sure make them!). i think my driving force behind that is that in the past, i found that almost everything came easily to me: school, friendships, staying in shape. but recently, those things have become more of a struggle. i haven’t gotten used to that yet, but i’m working on it!

  12. Tina says:

    Such a great post! Growing up I was (and still am at times) a perfectionist and over-achiever. I cared way too much about what others thought of me. If I could go back in time, I would lovingly tell myself that my worth is not determined by my achievements or by the opinion of others. I am still a type-A control freak and the over-achiever still pops up from time to time, but I do it for me, and no one else! I love the Truman Show reference by the way. It is one of my all-time favorite movies!

  13. All my life I’ve struggled with the need to be absolutely perfect and I’m constantly relearning the lesson that I don’t need to be perfect for life to be good. In fact, some of my best memories come from times when things were a little less perfect than I wanted them to be.

    This is a great post and a great reminder that there’s more to life than trying to achieve the impossible perfect.

  14. Marie says:

    Great post! I find myself trying to perfect all the time! It’s what me made me fail out of school. Trying to be perfect and never achieving it and then just giving up. Luckily I can spot it now and stop it from consuming me. Thanks for the reminder that while we may strive to be better, we can never be perfect!

  15. Ahhh yes, I have struggled with this all my life. And whether a blessing or a curse, I have succeeded in my goal of perfection in many ways ONLY to realize when I got there I was still imperfect and I didn’t have some feeling of bliss.

    Great topic!

  16. Becca says:

    Great guest post!
    I am quite a bit of a perfectionist. It was never really pushed on me, nobody ever told me I had to be perfect (at least, not in so many words), but I’ve always been afraid of failing and/or disappointing people (and myself). It’s something I’m working on letting go of, and this was a great reminder!

  17. Jolene says:

    Wow, this is beautiful. Such great words. I must read your blog! I completely agree with you. Life is perfectly imperfect and that’s what makes it so wonderful. Right now, I struggle with trying to be the perfect girlfriend. I haven’t been a girlfriend for the better part of 10 years (being divorced for almost 3), so this whole relationship thing is a foreign concept. But I don’t have to be perfect, it’s about learning to love, right?

  18. Kat says:

    Ugh – I am SUCH a perfectionist. I know that for me, it’s the fear of failure that drives it. I keep on trying to remind myself that 80% of the way usually gets something 100% done.

  19. Kristina says:

    I’m like that with my bodddddd…who isn’t? Then I come to realize I need to live, I work out as best as I can, I eat as healthy as need be-I am who I am damnit!

  20. carlee says:

    I loved this Chesley :) More than you know. I read every word it was so beauiful and inpiring and so so true!
    You are beautiful and so am I! :) As hard as we try we will never be perfect…

  21. Amanda says:

    I loved this post girl! You are such an inspiration! And your pictures are all so pretty :)

  22. Absolutely beautiful! I am a perfectionist I’ll admit it, but I’ve been trying to focus on doing the best I can and letting the chips fall where they may.

  23. Lauren says:

    Aw, the curse of the perfectionist. I am trying to indulge my non-perfectionist lately :) This was a beautiful post, Chelsey!

  24. What an amazing and inspirational post! Lately I think I’ve been too much of a perfectionist and I think part of it is feeling in control. And fear of failure.

  25. Melie says:

    great guest post! as a very wise person said to me recently, it’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting a bit better :-)

  26. Marie-Sophie says:

    this post hit me this morning – yep, that’s EXACTLY how I feel most of the time! Don’t know why, same as you … I was never told to be perfect but somehow I always gave myself a hard time. And through my studies it made life more and more difficult, spreading to other areas as well. Not just studying, no I had to be perfect with my eating, my body, my relationship (and I gave my boyfriend a hard time as well) … yeah, very straining. And now that I have to make the decision about how to enter my work life – I vowed to stick to not being perfect, choosing a path that is not awesome, with a lot of money and shine but one that gives me enough time to enjoy life and find more things that make me happy even though I am not perfect!

    Thanks for that great post, Chelsey – great reminder!

  27. Caitlin says:

    This post just ELUDES why I am quickly starting to love Chelsey and her blog.

    I think as women we most certainly put a LOT of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We take on so many roles – and it’s not to say that men don’t – and we want to be equally successful in all of them.

    My best friend told me something poignant years ago at a time I was struggling with wanting to be perfect and make everyone around me happy.

    “Some will, some won’t, so what,” he said.

    Truer words were never spoken and I’ve succeeded in being OK with imperfection ever since.

  28. Wonderful post, Chelsea! I have been a perfectionist my entire life. Like you, there was never external pressure from my parents–it was completely self-driven. However, over the years I’ve embraced the philosophy that I am IMPERFECTLY PERFECT. I am just as God made me to be!

  29. Allie says:

    AWESOME post!! It was good to hear the message that no one is perfect so we shouldn’t expect ourselves to be :)

  30. such a wonderful post!! IM STILL STUCK IN THE PERFECTION trap.. i will cherish the day when i finally accent me for me

  31. Thank you for a good reminder. Yes, I have found myself not wanting to try things because I was afraid of failing. I have to nudge myself along to get out of my comfort zone. If I don’t try, I will never grow. I will likely miss out on a lot of things too.

  32. Such a great post! I’m always striving to be perfect, and getting disappointed when I’m not- but I’m working on turn that around and realizing how many great things I do have and that if I were perfect all the time I won’t be me!

  33. Kacy says:

    What a great post! I used to feel pressure to be perfect, but I’ve let a lot of that go. It’s so freeing.

  34. Jess says:

    I totally needed this message today. Funny how that happens…God sure does work in mysterious ways, even popping up in the blogosphere! ;-) I was layng in bed this morning feeling guilty for having to take a second rest day for the week last night due to a migraine. I laid in bed feeling guilty and thinking negative thoughts. But why? Because I NEED to be perfect all the time? Taking two (gasp) rest days in one week is not “perfect’ or something? Who makes up these rules and why? Apparently I do and it’s not healthy. The only person that ends up hurt in all of this is me…the one beating myself up. Ridiculous. There is so much more to life than being perfect all the time. I’m battling it at work too. A new job and a feeling like I HAVE to know it all already. No reason for that added pressure other than my perfectionism issues. It must stop. Thank you for reminding me why. :)
    PS. Tina I’ll totally nominate you!! I am excited at the prospect of being on their blogroll, how cool would that be??

  35. What an awesome post! I feel the need to be the perfect mom for my son, but I’m trying to let it go. It’s best for both of us that way!

  36. Kathie says:

    What a terrific post!!!!

  37. Such a great message. the drive towards perfection was really such a downward spiral for me. Once I realized that perfection just doesn’t matter, life became 100 times better.

    oh, and by the way, i think you look like reese witherspoon! :)

  38. Tina – I just nominated you :) If you could nominate me as well, I would love it!! Thank you!

    Chelsey – love this post so much. I can totally relate. I put so much pressure on myself to do everything well, even little things that don’t really matter. When I mess up a meal, I feel guilty and get down on myself. When I don’t get something that I really didn’t have much control over, I can make myself feel really bad at first. Usually I come around and am able to step back and realize that life isn’t about being perfect, but it definitely takes work to break that ingrained pattern of perfectionist thinking.

  39. Robyn says:

    Love this post. I tent to have perfectionist behavior also. I think perfectionism holds me back more that it is helpful. I am learning to let go!

  40. great post such an inspiration!

  41. What a phenomenal post! Your words truly spoke to me as well as a lot of other people! :) I had a very similar experience that you describe in your post.

    But while perfectionism has it’s pitfalls, I think it’s a marker of how highly we see ourselves, too. We must really believe in ourselves to think that we are capable of achieving such great successes in life. I think that it’s good to acknowledge that we never be perfect, just like you said, Chelsey, but it’s good to know we hold our selves in good esteem! :)

  42. I love everything about this post. I quote I once heard that I’m incredibly fond of is “We are all damaged and beautiful.” :)

  43. Saudatu Haddi says:

    Great post. I can definately relate to all a lot of what you wrote int is post. I have always been seeking perfection. And I arealise this what is stopping me from truly LIVING. I find that my desire for perfection stops me from even trying, as I fear failure. I am learning to let go and LIVE.

  44. Sawda says:

    Great post, I can complely relate to your feelings in this post. I struggle with perctionism aswell. I just reealised that my desire perftion has stopped me from truly LIVING and having great experien ce. I find that at times I don’t even try as I fear failure. I am learning to let go, LIVE and that its ok if there are hiccups along the way

  45. This really hit home with me. Thanks so much for sharing. I am not sure where my need to be “good” comes from, but it often overwhelms me. As I age, I have learned to manage parts of it, but others elude me. Almost always takes a kick in the pants from a close friend or family member to help me back from that precipice.

  46. sheila b. says:

    this is such a wonderful and encouraging post! thank you for sharing! you’ve made my day!! :)

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