Imperfect at Not Being Perfect

For the fourth in our five-part guest blog series from one of our Oliver-Pyatt Centers alumna we are sharing a post on the drive for perfection and the realization that imperfection is perfect enough. We are continually inspired by all of our women and are proud to share this post with you, our readers. 

A true perfectionist will always insist that she isn’t a perfectionist… because she isn’t perfect. We all know in theory that perfection is unattainable, nonexistent even, and yet every mistake shoots cortisol through our bodies as if we were being injected with a poison that freezes muscles and makes the blood turn icy cold.

In recovery from an eating disorder, I’ve noticed that the perfectionistic tendencies that I’d previously thrown into calorie counting and watching numbers on a scale get diverted into other things – work, activities, even social interactions. I’ll stay up all night wondering whether I said the right thing, whether my work was good enough, whether I volunteer regularly enough for hospice.

In just the last week, I’ve received both praise and criticism for my work. And I’ve noticed that the praise just bounced off – like a ping pong ball on a brick wall. While the criticism…

It’s hard to let go of the desire to do everything right all the time. What then will make me hold myself accountable for… doing everything right all the time?

I’m far from perfect at being a non-perfectionist. I consider myself “in recovery” from perfectionism, but sometimes just talking about it (indirectly) helps. Yesterday, after spelling a name wrong in an article I freaked out a bit. Then I asked another writer if she sometimes had errors pointed out in already published stories. She laughed and said that it happens all the time. Okay, so that tells me I’m at least normal, not perfect, but human.  

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