Are you interested in being perfect

Courtney Ley

I have been reading a book.

Actually, I should say; I’ve been listening to a book – I have the audio version. I love listening to books. I never seem to have time to just sit down and read. Well, time and that my attention span doesn’t last long. Haha

I find it easier to listen to books, while I do boring things like, food shopping, cooking etc.

I’m listening to a very interesting book at the moment called ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ by Brene Brown.

I was first introduced to this author about a year ago. She did an amazing Ted Talk on Empathy and Shame.

If you don’t know what Ted Talks are – I strongly suggest you look them up on YouTube. They are fantastic!!

Yesterday while listening to my book, I got to a chapter where the author was talking about her struggle with perfectionism.

I found this incredibly interesting and wanted to share it with you all. It’s a topic I think a lot about but, this author has described it in such a perfect way.

Firstly I want to share Brene’s definition of perfectionism.

Definition of perfectionism –

“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: “If I look perfect, live perfectly, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.”
- Brene Brown

Now, I don’t know about you, but this makes so much sense to me.Then to my amazement this author, used the example of body image. Couldn’t be more perfect, I know.

When we talk about perfectionism and body image, it is all in the language we use to ourselves. Are we using language like; I’m ugly, I don’t deserve it, I need to be different now. Or are we using language like; I want to feel confident, I can do this, I want to be strong and healthy.

Yes, this is a case of positive versus negative language, but it’s also a case of perfectionism versus striving.

Healthy striving is working for your weight loss or body image goals for yourself. You are doing it for you not for others.

Perfectionism in regards to body image is focusing on the quick fix. It’s beating yourself down because you’re so concerned with what others think.

My second favourite quote in this particular chapter is - “Perfectionism didn’t lead to results – it lead to peanut butter”

This one made me laugh out loud – right in the middle of the supermarket. Haha

I could never have said it better myself.

So what to do about perfectionism?

We I think first to work out if it is a chronic problem of yours or not.

What I mean is does the desire to be perfect affect you in everyday tasks?

For me it doesn’t. It affects me when I’m feeling particularly vulnerable, or when I feel out of control.

So for me I - in Brene Brown’s words – “practice imperfection”.

What does that mean?

I’ve been doing this for over a year now, without realising there was a name for it.

It’s about placing yourself in situations which your, automatic perfectionism would usually click in.

Posting unflattering photos of myself. Discussing my mistakes with…well, everyone. Admitting that sometimes, I just don’t know the answer.

Not one of my more flattering photos, I've posted. But stepping outside my 'perfect' world, show the good and the bad. 

We cannot fear failure. We need to start embracing it.

Embracing the fact that, sometimes we may look silly…and that’s ok!

Trying to be perfect will hamper your success. It will either stop you from starting, or it will break you down along the way.

It is not something that can be fixed straight away. It, like everything else, will take time. But being aware this is an issue will go a long way in creating healthy striving – not perfection.


If you would like to read more about this from the author herself – The book I’m reading (listening to) is called – The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.

And you can read more about her definition of perfection here


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