Dealing With The Inner Perfectionist

Updated: May 18

I’ve learnt very quickly that perfection is boring.

Perfection is like colouring within the lines all the time, without having the freedom to explore what’s on the other side.

Never really changing, learning or growing for fear of moving to the outside of the lines not only holds us back, but it keeps us in the same place as we have always been.

A lot of our perfectionist tendencies come from the feeling of needing to be in control and have it all together, all of the time.

And many of these feelings are amplified when we are bombarded with the “highlight” reel day in, day out on the TV, magazines, and our Instagram feeds. This highlight reel feeds the worry than any glimpse of the “real us” means we look weak, vulnerable, and inhuman.

But really, where’s the harm in that?

Because to me, there is no harm in being relatable. Showing the world how perfectly IMPERFECT we are gives others the confidence to do the same, and to ask for help.

This need for perfection means that just like the fear of colouring outside of the lines, the fear of leaving the start gates and “failing” exists too.

When we fear not perfecting things first go, we use shitty excuses and reasoning to buy ourselves time so that when we are finally “ready” to start, we can succeed right off the bat.

But life is unpredictable, and curve balls will be sent hurtling our way often.

The inner perfectionist will use these so called “curveballs” as an excuse not to do something, or to hold themselves back from opportunity because the timing isn’t right.

But, the inner realist will adapt and conquer regardless of the circumstance!

I say that completion rules perfection!

Whilst I do believe self-expectation is a good thing, it shouldn’t be at the expense of you trying to be so perfect that you never leave the start line for fear of looking like a “failure”.

It’s about deciding what level of expectation you demand from yourself, whilst still being able to adapt and change your plans if need be. At the end of the day, I guess you need to ask yourself “What’s more important to me? Getting the job done, or doing it absolutely perfectly?”

Sure, set yourself a bar of execution you’d like to achieve, but if you fall just short of it, that’s okay. I mean, you could always go back and make some adjustments if you need to at a later date, or don’t. It’s entirely up to you.

So, let’s evaluate your current level of “perfectionism”:

Do you start things, but often don’t finish if the work you’ve done isn’t quite up to scratch?

Do you say “No” when someone offers help, because you believe you can do it better yourself (regardless of exhaustion or burn out)?

Do you put off starting things while you wait for the timing to be right? Do you criticise your own work, even if it’s great?

Do you become angry or frustrated easily when someone or something affects your original plans?

If you are reading this, and you answered “yes” to one or more of the above questions, I encourage you to think about how your desire for control or perfection are stopping you from colouring outside the lines, exploring new ideas, or learning new skills.

At the end of the day, life will always require you to adapt and change in order to meet the needs of each individual situation.

Find the courage to move away from the “highlight” reel, and into a space where you can be vulnerable, brave, and imperfect.

Show the world the real you, and create space and freedom for others to follow in your footsteps.

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