Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Struggle of Perfection

Photo by Malik ML Williams
Last night, I watched the second part of  Lifeclass with Dr. Brene' Brown , best-selling author of Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection.  

I thought that I was no stranger to vulnerability by writing some of my innermost thoughts and private experiences in a blog and publishing it for the entire world to see.  

I put myself in the arena, as Dr. Brown says, and I got my butt kicked in some way, but I recognized through most comments on and offline that I'm not alone.  I'm not the only one who has these feelings or experiences.  It has been such a blessing putting things out there and seeing what comes back, so here we go again...

When I saw Dr. Brown on OWN and she spoke about perfectionism, I'll be real and tell you that she hit a raw nerve.  

She defines perfectionism as a protective armor, which shields us from vulnerability.  "Perfectionism is a way of thinking that if I look perfect, live perfect, and work perfect, I can avoid or minimize criticism, blame, and ridicule."  Well damn...

I'll admit that I am a perfectionist.  I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my writing.  I have notebooks upon notebooks filled with notes, ideas, the beginnings of blog posts, entire articles, and what not that may never see the light of day, because I have not deemed them suitable for publication.  

I edited, completely rewrote, and edited my relaunch post  so many times that I got sick of reading it.  I truly hate to publish things with errors, misspellings, and inaccuracies.  In the past, if I didn't think that it was perfect, I wouldn't post at all.  That's slowly starting to change now.  

That might not be so bad, but when I think about other things in my life that I have not completed, have obsessed over to the point of being sick, or things that I've totally shut down for fear that it isn't perfect and people will criticize it or me, I feel sad.  I feel sad for the time that I've lost worrying so much about how I would be judged.  Most importantly, I am sad for how hard I have been on myself.  I recognize that I am judgmental, but I judge myself the harshest.

One of the things that struck me during the class was when Dr. Brown said that perfectionism "truncates the size of your life....It's keeping us from being hurt, but really it keeps us from being seen."  Well damn, Part 2...  How true this has been for so long.  I am bursting with things I want to share, but because it isn't perfect, I have stayed stuck.  

Today is a new day.  We've all been blessed with an opportunity make a new choice and do something different today.  

Along with exposing this shame to the light in order to release it, I'm adding some new affirmations centered around perfection to my morning Mirror Work Morning Ritual.    

I encourage you to take the first step in exposing this to the light by clicking any of the affirmations that resonates with you the most.  In the comments below, please share any other affirmations that you think can help us in moving past perfectionism.

Lights, Camera, Action
Are you a perfectionist?  How has perfectionism affected your life?  What are some things that you are doing (or have done) to change this?  

For those who did the Mirror Work Challenge, tell us how it worked out?  Have you noticed any changes?  Will you continue to do it?

Please leave your comment below.  As always, your comment will help all of us who read it.  I read them all and I know that others do to.  Thank you!

Photo credit lurve: Photo by Malik ML Williams


  1. Well, Ms. Pillowz: I found your blog through your post on Marie Forleo's procrastination episode, with the link attached about this article here that your wrote regarding PERFECTIONISM! I have slowly evolved into a perfectionist in my life, and it most definitely has kept me from very many potentially beautiful pieces of art and dance that I could have taught or at least shared with others. It also has kept me from attending certain dance classes to hone my skills because the FEAR of what others think of me (failing or not looking good enough), was stronger and more important to avoid than honing my skills and enjoying my passion! At least with the help of Marie Forleo, the community of online followers/readers, and other wise words of advice I have found lately, I am now having these breakthroughs. It's a sad realization, but all for a purpose that is being built up slowly but surely. I am not giving up...I will eventually find my niche and work through these fearful blocks. Thank you for your article. I will post this on Marie's comment thread as well! ~Liz

  2. I am a closet perfectionist. I don't produce as I should because I don't think that it will be good enough. I use the guise of "not caring" to mask it. I'm a work in progress. Now, ask me how many times I've rewritten this simple

  3. Wanting perfection only holds us back from really accomplishing our true purpose. Thanks for this post.

  4. I am a perfectionist in some things -- not everything. It's a hard thing to balance sometimes. I like what you share here.

  5. I am a bit of a perfectionist. It doesn't stop me from doing things, it makes me try and do everything. Which makes me exhausted ... this year I've worked on that though and have stepped back knowing that other people will fill in where I don't in my life. I focus getting done the absolute most and the other things get checked off slowly on my to do list.