The Problem With Perfection


Do you ever feel the overwhelming desire to be perfect?  You know, the Super Woman who can cook a perfect gourmet, clean, low-fat meal without breaking a sweat; who manages a perfectly clean house with no clutter and not a speck of dust; who is always fashionably attired and coifed; who plans the perfect Pinterest party with DIY party favors; who has stories of the perfect Girl’s Nights and perfect Date Nights; who wears the perfect-sized jeans; who has the perfect job with the most perfectly timed promotions at work; or who is perfectly happy working at home where she runs a perfect and prosperous Etsy shop.  I do.

I can remember feeling this need for perfection even when I was younger.  My 10th grade English teacher had us write a paper about ourselves.  I don’t remember the actual prompt, but I do remember it was a life-changing moment for me.  I wrote about the first time I got a “B” on my report card. It was from my 7th grade choir teacher.  I didn’t understand how it happened. I had perfect attendance and perfect participation. When I went in to ask why I had gotten such a low grade and petition that she change it to an “A,” she told me it was for having bad pitch. It killed me. I didn’t know that I was being graded on that, otherwise I would have been working on being, well, pitch perfect. I know that it may sound silly to you, but for me it was devastating. Up until then I had had straight A’s.  I wasn’t an athlete or a popular kid.  So as far as I was concerned, the only thing I had going for me was being good at school.  Writing this 10th grade paper made me realize that I felt like getting a “B” was a failure. I had bad pitch.  Obviously, I was doing something wrong. I felt like my teacher was telling me that I just wasn’t good enough.  In reality, she wasn’t.  But that is how I felt.

This need for perfection stems from the desire for approval.  If my grades are top notch, I am considered worthy.  If my house is perfectly clean, you will think I’m good.  If my kid’s party is Pinterest-perfect, then you will have a good time.  If my jeans fit just right, then you will accept me or look up to me.  If I am perfect, then I will be worthy of love and acceptance.

But let me tell you what I am finding. When I apologize to my husband and kids for failing them, most of the time they have no clue what I’m talking about. Or my husband will remind me that it is ok to have limits.  And I know he’s right. In my desire for perfection, I am pushing myself too hard.  I will stay up late working on project or just not sit down all day trying to keep up with the never-ending cycle of perfection.  And then I’m in tears over my inability to keep it all going.  It gets overwhelming at times and leaves me feeling incapacitated and hopeless.

I have found that I am way harder on myself than others are.  I am worthy of love.  And not for things that I have accomplished, but just for who I am.  And so are you!  You are worthy of love, friendship and respect.

The people who matter in my life (my husband, kids, and friends) won’t judge me for being less than perfect, because they don’t expect me to be.  They aren’t perfect.  No one walking on this Earth right now is perfect.  They expect me to be me.  We need to reevaluate our expectations of ourselves.  You don’t have to be perfect, and neither do I.

I have to be me and will strive to be the best me that I can be.  But if I don’t serve a perfect Paleo meal 3 times a day or can’t craft to save my life, it will be ok.  That doesn’t take away from my worthiness to be loved. I refuse to let it continue to stress me out or incapacitate me.  And if someone is judging me based off the fact that I have a stack of kids’ artwork and bills piled up in the corner of my kitchen or that I can’t get the frizz out of my hair, then I don’t really need that in my life.

Perfection doesn’t equal worth or lovability.  To me it equals stress and little sleep.  The less time I spend on being trying to be perfect, the more time I can spend enjoying the time with my family. And that sounds perfect to me.

















  1. Rachel

    July 27, 2017 at 10:28 pm

    Great read! Sometimes perfectionists need to hear the other side of their own thoughts.

  2. Kamie Berry

    July 27, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    There is so much pressure to be perfect, especially from “mommy-shamers.” I finally just had to tune everyone out and do what makes me happy since I’ll never be perfect.

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 12:03 am

      I get enough pressure to be perfect from myself, I definitely don’t need it from “mommy-shamers!” You are so right. None of us will ever be perfect, no matter how hard we try. But we can definitely pull off happy! 🙂

  3. Terri

    July 27, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Words of wisdom! I remember my mom flying around the house trying to be everything to everyone. As the years have gone by she has become more present in the moment and It maes me happy to watch her play with the grandkids and leave the dishes for someone else!:-)

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I love that! If only I could get someone to do my dishes. 😉 Lol!

  4. Anitra

    July 28, 2017 at 12:09 am

    This is so true for so many mom’s out there, me included! I am so hard on myself, and think that I fail my family if I cannot get everything done. I’ve started to realize that they will survive just fine if I happen to drop the ball every now and then!

  5. Lisa

    July 28, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Agreed – no need to put more pressure on ourselves!

  6. lisa

    July 28, 2017 at 12:35 am

    I am such a perfectionist. Almost to my demise sometimes. Maybe I can fight the urge tonight and leave the dishes in the sink!

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 12:46 am

      I believe in you! Leave those dishes! Lol!

  7. Gina

    July 28, 2017 at 12:46 am

    This spoke to me – my perfectionist ways are to blame for the anxiety that follows. Good read!

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 2:41 am

      So glad it spoke to you, Gina!

  8. Whitney

    July 28, 2017 at 12:54 am

    love this — great words to live by

  9. Carmen

    July 28, 2017 at 1:28 am

    So true! Perfectionism can manifest in different ways. Comparing ourselves to others. Giving up when we see we can’t measure up to our own standards. Feeling like we should never disappoint anyone. So glad to have moved on from that in many areas of my life. Step by step.

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 2:40 am

      Yes, baby steps for me too!

  10. Shelanda

    July 28, 2017 at 2:10 am

    This was a great article.

  11. Robin

    July 28, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Totally agree…”Perfection equals stress and very little sleep.” Being real and honest is so much better.

  12. Emily

    July 28, 2017 at 5:58 am

    I am seriously shocked you got a B for “bad pitch.” I know this wasn’t exactly your point, but if she was not trying to teach you pitch directly, why would you be graded on it?

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      I know! That is why 7th grade me was so up in arms about it. I knew I was getting graded on attitude and participation. Not pitch. In anycase, I worked on my pitch issues and ended up with A’s from then on. Lol!

  13. Melissa

    July 28, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    This is so very true! I am my biggest critic! I have to continually remind myself that I’m the only one who knows it’s not how I intended it be. Thanks for Sharing this!

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      Glad it resonated with you!

  14. Courtney

    July 28, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    It’s funny- I am a perfectionist in some areas and not at all in others- either way, this really spoke to the part of me that is a perfectionist!

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      So glad that it did!

  15. Traci | The Petite Chef

    July 28, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Great reminder! You’re right that perfection often has a lot to do with getting approval from others, and we need to forget that and just do what makes US happy!

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 4:41 pm

      Traci, you are so right!

  16. kiersten

    July 28, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Great read – and so important to let go of when you have kids! I can be such a perfectionist, but need to remember that it’s ok if my kids aren’t the same way (and I think I’m actually a little jealous of that!)

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      Yes! So true, Kiersten!

  17. Joanne

    July 28, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Great read! Perfectionism is always the guilty party in my feelings of inadequacy as a mom, wife, friend etc.

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 8:11 pm

      I understand that exactly! Glad you enjoyed the post!

  18. Stacey

    July 28, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    I can relate to this a lot. I like to be the best. I feel bad about myself when I’m not. I have to tell myself that it’s okay to just be who I am. How sad is it that I actually have to tell myself that!

    1. Lisa

      July 28, 2017 at 8:10 pm

      Stacy, I don’t think it is sad! I think it is real and something that a lot of us struggle with. We can support each other in that struggle. Lol! 🙂

  19. Lori

    July 28, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Oh, I really needed to read this! Thank you!

    1. Lisa

      July 29, 2017 at 2:12 am

      Oh good! I hope it was helpful, Lori!

  20. Jennifer

    July 29, 2017 at 12:16 am

    As a fellow perfectionist, I totally relate to your post! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Lisa

      July 29, 2017 at 2:21 am

      You are very welcome!

  21. Autumn

    July 29, 2017 at 1:53 am

    Yes, yes, and YES. This is really strange, but I used to have so much anxiety over everything being perfect, and ever since I cut certain things out of my diet, I don’t have that anxiety anymore. Like I said…really weird. Or maybe not–the human body is crazy, and food is powerful.

    1. Lisa

      July 29, 2017 at 2:16 am

      Food is VERY powerful! I’m so glad that you have found some freedom from anxiety by cutting things out.

  22. Jacqueline Marie

    July 29, 2017 at 2:09 am

    I LOVE this post. I have reached a point in my life where I have come to this realization as well and have begun to set limits with those who have outright judged me or hurt me because of my perceived “imperfections”. I completely agree with you that we are harder on ourselves than others (usually) are. Great read and reminder, especially to us women and moms!

    1. Lisa

      July 29, 2017 at 2:20 am

      I’m so sorry you have to deal with that! But I’m so glad you liked the post!

  23. Kara

    July 30, 2017 at 12:54 am

    This post completely resonates with me. I’ve come back from the brink a bit, but my obsessive need to be perfect in everything I do really took a toll on my mental and physical health. It’s so important (for women and moms especially) to take a step back and realize that perfection really doesn’t equal lovability or worth, and it’s not a reflection of how good of a human being we are.

    1. Lisa

      July 30, 2017 at 3:31 am

      Exactly! Sometimes it is hard to remember (I definitely speak from personal experience), but that is exactly right: We are so worthy of love, even if we fall short of our desire for perfection!

  24. Autumn Murray

    July 30, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Great read! I a more of a procrastinator than a perfectionist. LOL!

    1. Lisa

      July 30, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Lol! I do both. I procrastinate because I get paralyzed that I can’t be perfect. Sigh.

    1. Lisa

      August 6, 2017 at 6:05 am

      Awww… Thanks Kate!

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