Why I Don’t Want to Be a Perfectionist Anymore

I’m a perfectionist.

When I was younger, I used to think this was something to be proud of. Pretty sure I was a little jerk and would even brag about it. As a slightly wiser (hopefully) and slightly older (definitely) me, I’ve come to associate being a perfectionist with limitation, stress, and the stem of negative self-talk. Here’s why:

Perfection is not real when it comes to the self and it is unnecessary and debilitating when it comes to creativity.

There I am, striving towards an unachievable goal. Making myself feel inadequate for no damn reason. Taking any pursuit at creating too seriously, when it should simply be a joyful pursuit at bringing something into being. Being a perfectionist leads to holding so many parts of yourself back when, in reality, we all become our most complete and beautiful selves when we reveal our truth, ‘imperfections’ and all.

What better way is there to limit yourself than to be a perfectionist? 

For me, it’s come to mean holding myself to an unrealistic and harsh standard that stifles creativity in my writing and my freedom to just LIVE and EXPERIENCE. In my mind, if I couldn’t write something perfect (whatever that even means), it wasn’t worth sharing with anyone. It’s the feeling that showing up and trying was never quite enough. It’s ridiculous.


Books like “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield both heavily discuss the viewpoint that, when it comes to creativity, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about showing up everyday and doing your work. Good or bad. Inspired or not. Wine or not. The books say nothing about wine, but I’ll always prefer to work with wine. I strongly suggest these two books for anyone who feels like they have writer’s block or feel like they’re not creative or inspired enough. They’ll help to shake something loose in your head and get you mentally moving in the right direction.

Whatever your art is, it’s important that you share it with the world. And you’ll never know what might happen when you sit down and try. Trudge through any resistance you feel and the reward will eventually come. They say that there are no more original ideas left. There probably aren’t. It doesn’t matter. No one can ever share that story, that art, that idea like you can.


I recently read a book called “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown in which she poses an interesting question: “Do you feel that, in general, most people are doing the best that they can?”

I think we might all have mixed feelings on that one. Some people definitely don’t seem like they’re doing their best, do they?

So, here’s where we try to be connected human beings and empathize. Maybe that person hasn’t had a life experience that taught them to be more sensitive to others. Maybe they were running late. Maybe they just lost someone close to them. Maybe they’re just a self-absorbed person that you’ll avoid, let them figure out what their deal is, and you carry on with your day un-phased by their negative energy.

It becomes easier to try and empathize with others when we begin to understand the origin of our own poor behaviors or actions, but forgive ourselves for not doing everything right all the time so we can move on from it as a more aware human being.

What’s most important is that we’re always striving to be one of the people doing their best. It’s a realistic goal. Feeling like you need to be a “perfect” person all the time? It’s the perfect way to disappointment yourself on the regular and let it keep you down.

Things I now know for a fact: I am one of the many people out there that is trying their best. I am imperfect like all the rest of us. And that’s ok.

Reminding myself that I was doing the best I could in a given FullSizeRender (3)situation is probably one of the most effective acts of mental self-love I can think of. It allows me to change the inner monologue from “I’m a screwup” to “I screwed up”, as Brene Brown touches on in her amazing, above-mentioned book. I can look back on what made me take those actions or say those things and evaluate how to be happier with my response the next time.

The only thing we can control is ourselves and that’s a big and awesome responsibility.

Am I probably still a perfectionist at this point? Sure.
It tugs at me everyday. But, at the very least, the act of writing these words right now is a violent act against it.

One response to “Why I Don’t Want to Be a Perfectionist Anymore”

  1. […] me, it also means my perfectionism is showing. Let’s just tuck that back in, shall […]

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