I have a horrible disease. If you’re like me, you often find yourself never fully satisfied with your life — always shifting directions and comparing yourself to others, always finding things you don’t quite like about your career and reworking them, and always managing perceptions and manipulating how people view you.
Perhaps you’ve heard about this disease, it's called “perfection”?
Too many people, maybe most of us, maybe even all of us, are so busy being perfect on the outside, that we become afraid to face the realities of our real lives. We isolate ourselves and keep secrets from even our closest friends… How you’re upside down in debt, that you're drinking too much, your depression is getting worse, your spouse is abusing you, and how you despise your own body… but you can’t let anyone see these weaknesses, because if they knew, they might not like you or respect you anymore. Right…? Wrong. The disease of perfection detaches us from true community. It drives people to feel defective and alone. Sometimes, it makes them give up altogether.
If I could look you in the eyes and tell you one thing I know for certain it would be this, “Perfection is impossible, excellence is attainable, but authenticity is captivating. We are a generation craving authenticity and vulnerability. Let's stand together, be brave together, and show the world we are real. We are failures, we are weak, and that making mistakes is better than faking perfection.”
On my journey of battling perfection, I've found a few things to be helpful. Below, I've listed the 3 ways I've fought perfection, and won.
3 Ways to Battle Perfection, and Win:
Realize that Perfectionism is the Antithesis to Happiness:
We are sold to believe that perfection equals happiness. False. True happiness only comes from authentic, vulnerable community where depth, transparency, and trust can thrive. If you want happiness, find a small group of people you can trust and be real with one another.
Tell Someone Everything:
In my experience, there are few things more freeing than confession. Not necessarily to your priest, but to a safe, trustworthy friend. Write down everything you're ashamed, embarrassed, and fearful of, and read it to them. You will likely be surprised when they look you in the eye and say, “I still love you.” This is the first step to discovering how beautiful you are without your armor.
Let Go and Recognize What Really Matters:
So you didn't get that job, that guy never asked you out, you can't break the addiction, you marriage is stalled, your dreams never came true… It's at this moment to remember what really matters. “I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, water to drink, and clothes to wear.” You might have a friend you can trust or a pet that you love. Ultimately, you're still breathing. This is good. You still have time.
What has helped you fight perfection? Let me know in the comments below.