by Carly Mayer, M.S.
We are all imperfect since we all have flaws and can benefit from improvements. There is no single version of perfect and thus, none of us are. So how come so many people are striving for perfection? I venture to say that most of us have been reinforced for some sort of perfection, whether it was a “perfect” presentation or a “perfect” party. When these things end, we want to achieve our next version of our best and this is helpful because it pushes us to work harder. However, what about when our best is no longer good enough and we need perfect?
Demands to be perfect are hard to break, thus we have to change our thinking. Reminding ourselves that we are human and no humans are perfect. Thinking that while we want to be perfect, that does not mean it will happen and we can tolerate knowing that we are not perfect. We can change our demands for perfection and learn to expect and accept imperfections, even when we try our best. This is the first step to overcoming perfectionism.
The second step is likely to be more uncomfortable – actually forcing ourselves into imperfect experiences. We already have the tools to tell ourselves that perfect is not realistic, but we need to practice doing it. So, making a mistake on a test on purpose, knowing that it is incorrect or getting ready in the morning and not putting on makeup even though you think you would look better wearing it. If we can accept ourselves as imperfect and show ourselves that we can live through imperfection, we will be able to adopt a new belief that perfection is unreasonable and be able to strive for our best, rather than our perfect selves.