Embracing Imperfection

Apr 7, 2013 by

“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

– Voltaire


Dear Perfectionism,  It’s been 23 years, but we’re over. I’ve found something better. See ya! Maria

Dear Perfectionism,

It’s been 23 years, but we’re over. I’ve found something better.

See ya!

          Perfectionism is a psychological disorder. I always thought that it should be classified as one, but didn’t know that it actually is until earlier this year. I was relieved to find out, which is strange given that I’m a perfectionist. Somehow, knowing that perfection is not something I should strive for has given me the go ahead to stop.

          As a kid, I was very obedient. I did what authority figures (parents and teachers) told me to do. I did not like to be reprimanded. I was (and still am) shy, so being embarrassed in front of my peers for not meeting other people’s expectations was not an option for me. I became a high achiever, trying to emulate what I thought other people wanted me to be. I’ve worn many masks throughout my life. I have a completely different personality from one person or situation to another. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I lose track of how I’m supposed to act around whom.

          Perfectionism has also caused me to be very secretive, because I’m terrified of failure – or more accurately, of other people thinking I’m a failure. I don’t share my dreams and ambitions with people and I don’t talk about my goals. I don’t want to feel accountable for what I say, and feel judged if I don’t achieve my goals or change my mind about what I want from life. I lock people out, and then I complain that I don’t feel connected to others. I’m devastated that I can’t express myself, because no one knows who I really am. I feel fresh tears rush down my cheeks and fall into growing pools on the cold tiles. I stare at the way too familiar bathroom ceiling from my usual spot on the floor and wonder where I went wrong. Repeat nightly.

          I’m tired of trying to be perfect. I’m far from it, and I don’t even want it. In hope of appeasing people and avoiding judgement, I’ve tried to be what I think other people’s visions of perfect are. Guess what: Other people don’t care who I am or what I do, just like I don’t care how other people live their lives. I’ve been so self-absorbed to think that they do. Therefore, there’s no need for me to care about what other people think. What’s important is what I think about my life. I’m the one who has to live it, and I want to live it for me. I want to share myself with others as I am.

          My new goal is imperfection. Luckily, imperfection is an inevitable part of experimentation, and I hope there are many mistakes along the way. Imperfection is so much more interesting and worthwhile than perfection. Adventure lies in imperfection. Take my trip to Rome last summer. Would I rather have had a perfectly smooth Italian vacation or would I rather have had two run-ins with the Italian police, fractured my ankle on my way to the Vatican, and peed on a wall after my best friend lost her glasses in the Tiber River (all true stories)? Imperfection sounds pretty epic when put that way. I’ll take option awesome, please.

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