Striving For Perfection? Stop Stressing Girl… No One Has It All Together (No Matter How It Looks on the Outside)

Are you stressing out over making everything perfect?

Do you run around, tripping over yourself to make that holiday dinner or get-together absolute perfection only to not have the time nor energy to enjoy it yourself?

Are family trips more of a burden than a vacation because you want to make sure everything goes the way you envision it?

Do you feel upset or inadequate about your hair, makeup and clothes or your body?

Are you pressuring yourself to be perfect in your relationships?

Do you compare yourself to others or set an impossible standard for yourself on work or school projects?

If there are even hints of any of this in you, I have some great insights and an eye-opening story for you.

Perfection without Purpose

Does it really matter if it’s perfect?

“Perfectionism” is a double-edged sword…

Naturally, whatever you do, you want to do it well. You also want to get things completed without tons of harmful stress… You want to avoid causing harm to your physical and mental well-being.

It’s a balancing act between realistic standards of excellence and unrealistic perfection.

Perfection is the enemy of progress.

– Winston Churchill

If you keep striving for perfection, you might never be done… Done is better than perfect.

Letting go of perfection does not mean you don’t have high standards… it’s simply more realistic

Standards… create criteria for a minimal viable project… when you meet them, you’re done (at least for now, you can always go back & improve).

What’s the worst that could happen?

Striving for perfection also takes away from creativity. It puts you in a box instead of letting the creativity flow.

Is “Perfect” Attainable

Is it even possible to be “perfect”?

What does that mean? What would it look like?

What is your definition of perfect?

How will you know when it’s good enough?

We seem to easily get caught up in this competitive culture, where we feel we must do more in order to be worthy. And if we don’t match up, we feel inadequate.

Do you wonder how everyone else is doing it when it seems such a struggle for you?

Guess what? They’re not.

No one has it all together, no matter how it looks on the outside. NO ONE.

I’ve seen many “posers”… They go out of their way to make it seem like they have it all together, yet it’s only an illusion. Like the real estate agent driving around in an Audi to look good for clients, struggling to make the payment and living in a tiny one-bedroom apartment that only his closest friends know about, worried he’ll be found out by the wrong person. That stress is gone when you choose to be real.

Presenting an illusion of perfection is even more prevalent in this time of social media. You can create a manufactured image by what you choose to post… or not post.

Most people have a looking-good issue. They care too much about what others think.

When you let what others think about you influence who you choose to be, you:

  • Are not being your authentic self, not being YOU.
  • Stifle your true potential.
  • Stress out to please others.
  • Attract the wrong people.

You’re never going to please everyone, so be the real you… That way you’ll attract and keep the right people in your life… those who accept you for you.

See the reality that no one has it all together, that everyone has different opinions about what perfect is so you’ll never make everyone happy and ignore pressure from others to attain the impossible “perfect”.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on

Philippians 3:12

Perfectionism Is Killing Us

If you’re striving to be perfect, you may not have ever considered why perfectionism could be bad.

As I’ve already shown, it’s an impossible standard. No matter how hard you work toward it, you’ll let yourself down and stress yourself out. It’s harmful to your body and your soul.

Chronic stress has terrible affects on your body.

  • Disrupts healthy sleep patterns
  • Lowers immune system
  • Increases risk or worsens other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
  • Can cause headaches, fatique, changes in sex drive and more.

Your emotional well-being can also be negatively affected by the self-imposed stress caused by striving for perfection.

  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Self doubt
  • Self loathing
  • Depression

I struggle to find anything where perfection is so important it is worth your health and emotional well-being. Especially since, as we’ve concluded, perfection is an impossible, unrealistic, unattainable goal.

So instead, focus on keeping your attitude light. Focus on self love, appreciating your real authentic self. Recognize that imperfections are beautiful, interesting and defining. The fact is, they are not “imperfections” at all.

The Story of the Cracked Pot

An elderly woman had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which she carried across her neck. One of the pots had a crack in it while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walks from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the woman bringing home only one and a half pots of water. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it could only do half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be bitter failure, it spoke to the woman one day by the stream. ‘I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.’

The old woman smiled, ‘Did you notice that there are flowers on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side?’ ‘That’s because I have always known about your flaw, so I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you water them.’

For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.’

– Author Unknown

Overcoming Perfectionism

Constantly striving to be perfect has a huge impact on your stress level. If you’d like to reduce stress and anxiety, here are some ways you can overcome perfectionism in your life.

6 Ways to Overcome Perfectionism

  • Stop people pleasing and ignore pressure from others.
  • Appreciate the journey instead of only focusing on results.
  • Don’t compare yourself with others. Be YOU.
  • Be realistic with your standards
  • Done is better than perfect
  • Mess up on purpose (I love this one!)

Some questions to ask yourself or perspective:

  • How important is this? Be honest.
  • Is it good enough as it is?
  • What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Will it matter in 5 years?

There is so much in this world that doesn’t matter at all, in the big scheme of things. It definitely doesn’t all have to be perfect. So, seriously, girl… Stop stressing. Let go of perfect. Appreciate what is real and beautiful and imperfect.

Go now and live with joy!


What are 1-3 things you will do to stop stressing over perfectionism? What was your biggest take-away from this post?


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