Hi friends, Wendy here! Welcome to the #perfectionistproblems interview series. My mission with The Gratefulist is to help creatives let go of their perfectionism and embrace their perfectly imperfect selves.
I’ve personally learned so much from other people's perfectionist stories and that’s why I’m sharing these stories in a weekly interview series on the blog, in the hope of helping you deal with your perfectionism. Reading about personal experiences is a powerful thing and I believe there’s so much you can learn from these stories and insights.
Today, I’m very grateful to share Rachel Bell from whollyunimpressive.com ‘s perfectionist story. Over to you Rachel!
In what way does perfectionism show up in your life?
Perfectionism shows up in my life primarily when I create: when I write, paint, design, or sing. For some reason I have this idea in my head that what comes from me reflects badly on who I am if it's not perfect. I know this isn't true, but that knowledge doesn't stop me from spending twice as long on a blog post to get every sentence right!
Why do you think perfectionism is such a dream killer?
It's a dream killer because it isn't attainable. No one can ever be perfect in any way. So striving for that is striving for the impossible. Humans are hopeful creatures. But perfectionism crushes hope. So perfectionists are forced to either keep up a facade or feel like a failure all the time. That will kill your dreams for real!
How does perfectionism affect your soul and success, both in work and life?
I touched on this in the last question, but I have met some perfectionists who have basically given up on being real, vulnerable people. They just pretend to be perfect all the time and become soulless creatures. Human = imperfect. To work towards perfection is to attempt to elevate yourself to god status. This effort strips us of our humanity.
As far as success, I think there can be some measure of success for perfectionists. Or at least it will look like success to outsiders. But spouses and children and friends will see it for what it is. And the perfectionist, herself, will never feel successful because with “perfect” as the end goal, the only outcome is failure.
What does embracing imperfection mean to you?
It means getting messy. Leaving room for interpretation. Using your imagination. Learning from mistakes. Learning from failure. Embracing imperfection means loving yourself and others despite their flaws and maybe even learning to love the flaws.
What’s the single most important thing about perfectionism that’s holding you back?
It is slowing me down. When I try to create perfect content, it takes twice as long, which adds stress overall.
Tips and tricks about dealing with perfectionism? Share them!
1. Self-Image - remember, no one is looking at you the way you are looking at you. No one is concerned about your pimples or frizzy hair or extra pounds. They love you for you and you should too.
2. Productivity - remember, perfectionism slows you down and adds stress. Give yourself a little wiggle room for error and you will actually feel better about life.
3. Contentment - an aspect of gratitude that is not as commonly discussed is contentment. Be content with where you are and who you are. Practice loving all aspects of the journey rather than the perfect end product.
Share a favorite quote or mantra that you use to remind yourself that who you are and what you do is good enough?
You do not have to be defined by your circumstances. You can react to what you can't control in an unhealthy or healthy manner. You have a choice.
You are not a victim of circumstance. You are in control of your perception.
Who is this perfectly imperfect, soul-connected creative?
Rachel writes about finding contentment on her blog, Wholly Unimpressive. She is a lover of being at home, liturgy and the joys of ordinary life. You can often find her reading a book, writing in her journal or knitting. She prefers to have free feet, so she wears chacos year around - even in the winter and to her business casual office job.
Wendy, again! Phew, that was SO powerful! Thank you, Rachel, for sharing your story so courageously. Make sure to show Rachel some love in any of the places linked above.
Are you inspired by Rachel's story and ready to let go of your perfectionism? Make sure to download my FREE perfectionism-busting workbook. Just click the button below!