I am a perfectionist. I am coming to terms with this fact slowly but surely. I used to be convinced I was not, in fact, a perfectionist. Perfectionists always started their homework weeks before it was due. Their class projects were never rushed and impeccably finished. They always received straight As. They wore the perfect makeup and shoes and made sure their clothes matched.
I, on the other hand, never started school projects early. I wrote 10 page papers the night before they were due. I got As, but I also got Bs, and never really worried about it. I did well in school without trying so hard. I never cared about my clothes. I didn’t wear anything trendy. I never did my makeup or hair. How could I ever be a perfectionist?
It wasn’t until about 3 years ago when I was going through an incredibly difficult time in my life did I really start to see my perfectionism clearly. No my makeup wasn’t perfect, but I criticized myself constantly. If I said the wrong thing in class. If I embarrassed myself with a guy. If I tripped walking home. Any little mistake I made was a huge deal in my mind. I could not let it go and I replayed it over and over in my head, reminding myself what a failure I was.
Thinking about it now, I know how destructive my thoughts were. Everyone trips. Everyone says something embarrassing to a crush. Everyone answers incorrectly in class. So why was I being so hard on myself for doing what everyone else does? Because I wanted to be perfect.
Through a lot of personal healing I’ve been able to move away from such extreme self-criticism. But I still want to be perfect in other ways. I want to stay up to date on the news and international politics. I want to keep my room clean. I want the ideal job. I want to have my apartment decorated in the best possible way. I want to wear nice clothes. I want learn how to do makeup properly. I want to read more. I want to eat healthier. I want to workout regularly. I want to incorporate meditation and yoga into my routine. I want run a successful blog. I want to keep my nails painted all the time. I want to have everything together, all the time.
And it’s time for me to realize, it’s okay to let things fall through the cracks. Maybe I don’t read the New York Times every morning. Maybe my room gets a little dusty. Maybe I eat ice cream once (or twice) a week. Maybe my nails are chipped and I don’t have any makeup on. And that’s okay. It’s okay if everything in my life isn’t perfect. It never will be. I will never have it all together all the time.
Letting go of perfectionism is HARD. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And I still haven’t let it go. Everyday I strive to be perfect. Everyday a small mistake feels like a big failure. But I’m trying. I’m trying to let those feelings go and tell myself mistakes are okay. They’re normal, natural, and happen to everyone. Failure and mistakes help us to grow. These are the reminders I give myself on a daily basis.
Every time I let a small task fall through the cracks, it’s really a milestone for me. I’m imperfect and that is completely okay.