1. It isn't realistic.
2. It does not give way to grace, mercy, or human error.
3. It makes you feel bad when perfection isn't met.
There was one point this year that I just accepted that not everything can be perfect, and as long as it’s done, or as long as I am trying, perfection is no longer the goal.
I am my worst critic. I know people all around who know me just gasped! But, it’s true. No one has to tell me what I’ve done wrong, or how I messed up because I am already saying 100 obscenities in my mind about what I did wrong. Being a screw up isn’t really my thing. I want to appear put together, like I have life beat. But, can I tell you something? I DON’T!
When you’re going through life trying to keep this “I got this” persona, it can be exhausting. If something is broken, I want to fix it. If something isn’t working, I try to find out why, and I try with all of my might to change it. The truth is, I am not in the restoration business, nor am I a fairy godmother. I had to learn the hard way (especially this year), that no one, nothing, is perfect. Nothing can be perfect because in our humanness, we can’t be perfect. I have had to learn to trust God to fix things. And guess what? God only fixes what we want Him to. God only intervenes and changes things when we ask Him to. If I am all, “I got this”, God can’t do His work. Why would I not want to give up the things in my life to the Creator? Maybe I am a control freak? (Okay, that is a whole other post, Melissa!)
I have this innate ability to love, care for, and fix things that are broken. Can you imagine my dating life? Yeah, it’s pretty hilarious! But, I don’t want someone based on their potential. I want someone based on their reality. I am done trying to fix things and make things perfect. The only perfect One is Jesus.
So, if you are like me, tired of always trying to be perfect, can I help you out? Break up with perfection! Send it a Dear John letter, send it down the river, or even buy it a pizza that says, “I’m breaking up with you” spelled out in pepperonis. Whatever you have to do to let go, do it!
Here are some tips to get your started!
1. Journal about your need to be perfect and then read it to yourself.
It may sound silly, or feel awkward, but it may reveal a lot about why you want things to be perfect. Is it because you feel like you won’t be good enough? Is it because you want to keep control? Is it because you feel like it’s the one thing you got going for you? Let me tell you something, you don’t have to be perfect to be worth it. You don’t need this cookie cutter perfect life because it’s boring! There is beauty in the colorful messes we make!
2. Write a "break up letter" to perfection.
This is my go-to. Tell perfection to take a hike and be specific on why. This may reveal more than you think!
3. When something gets done, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
It just needs to be done. I had to learn this in my professional life. I am not saying to make mistakes on purpose, or to not pay attention to detail. I am saying, don’t get so caught up in making each detail perfect, that you lose the ability to finish things. Striving for perfection can be feel paralyzing, when perfection isn’t the goal. Just getting done and finishing needs to be the goal.
4. Take it to God and leave it there.
I am a Christian, so my life revolves around one person - Jesus Christ. When things in life are hard for me, my savior is there for me. He loves me despite my humanness. He loves me despite my imperfections. A central theme in Christianity is to give all we have to God. We worship Him at church, yes, but we also worship Him with our lives. We cannot be whole without Jesus. We cannot be redeemed without Jesus. So, for me, to be able to function through life healthy and joyful, I have to constantly surrender things to the Lord. One of those things is my need to be perfect, and my need to make things in life how I want them.
5. Symbolize this break up with perfection in a meaningful way.
I regularly see a counselor (No shame, people! I whole-heartedly believe in counseling/therapy. It was my major!). Dealing with anxiety and depression has made me take a hard look at how my mind works and how my perspective affects my behavior. One of the first things I had to do in counseling was destroy my perfect life that I had built in my head. Growing up, this was my escape. I saw things in how they should be lenses, rather than how they are lenses. This has been daunting to break through. In the near future, I really want to symbolize this new-found break up in a good, meaningful, healthy way. I haven’t decided how yet, but I will soon! If you are making the same move, I suggest doing this too!
Life is too short to worry about being perfect. Be who you are. Be bold enough to be real with yourself. Be kind enough to accept you. There is nothing wrong about loving yourself right where you are. So much of my life has been spent being hard on myself, and honestly not being kind. I do think there’s something to be said about loving yourself. Giving yourself a break.
Can you relate? I would love to hear about your story in the comments!