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I wrote my outline for this very article on paper. Toward the end of the page, one of my bubbly cursive letters just didn’t look right. I crumpled up the paper, threw it away and started all over again, from scratch.

I did my makeup this morning. My liquid eyeliner (one of the last steps) decided not to play along. I washed my face and started, you guessed it, all over again.

I use Google Calendar to plan every second of my day. A friend was fifteen minutes late for lunch this afternoon. It ruined my entire schedule.

I am the epitome of a perfectionist. It might be one of my most obvious traits. I like for things to not only be done right, but I like for them to be perfect. In fact, I’ve found that I have an issue letting other people do things for me. I suppose I don’t want them to mess anything up. Call it OCD, call me a control freak too if you want. Sometimes it feels like I’m just wired this way. I’ve discovered a fundamental problem with this business of perfectionism.

There is no such thing as “perfect.”

If you can believe it, writing that was hard. I know in my rational mind that there is no such thing as “perfection” and that I am creating unrealistic expectations for myself by expecting every little thing to be that way all the time. However, some part of me still thinks that I can make that happen. How exhausting. Luckily I have some things that I’ve learned to remind myself of or that I attempt to incorporate into my life in order to learn to let go of trying to reach such unattainable expectations.

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Find the lesson. 

Everything happens for a reason, I promise it does. We may not always know that reason and we may drive ourselves crazy trying to figure it out. When things don’t go perfectly or even anywhere close to how I imagined, I try to take a step back, figure out what went wrong, and use that to become a stronger individual. I’ve learned to let imperfection be my teacher.

Change your goal.

There’s nothing exciting about being “perfect.” It’s monotonous. It’s boring. Yes, it’s predictable and secure but life is no such thing. If ever there were anything constant in life it’s change. Instead of aiming to be something you ultimately cannot be (cringes), shoot for something else. For example, instead of trying to be perfect at something, try to be “better” at it. Give yourself a little room to be human.

Change your routine.

My boyfriend is the complete opposite of me. He’s definitely a fly by the seat of his pants kind of guy. I’m probably attracted to that quality because I don’t have it. He doesn’t allow me to plan my Sundays. Instead, for one day a week we do what we call “Spontaneous Sundays.” We pick a place to start the day and see where the day takes us from there. Spontaneous Sundays have taken me everywhere from a food truck rally to a bookstore that sells rare, used and out of print books, to a fancy dinner, to a theme park, to Netflix on the couch, and more. The most important thing is that it’s shown me that letting go of my need for perfectionism and control is actually okay to do. Some of the best days that I’ve had have been Sundays, go figure.

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Do your best.

Listen friend, you can only do so much. Just give everything that you do your best shot. Be conscious of your limitations and your flaws. Don’t beat yourself up for them and let your best be perfect enough. I wanted to finish my Masters degree with a 4.o. However, I was working two jobs and had a lot going on and was only able to finish with a 3.9. At first I was extremely hard on myself for not being, surprise, perfect. In hindsight I came to terms with the fact that a GPA doesn’t define me. In reality, my 3.9 meant that I did well and that I could graduate, which was all that I wanted to do anyway at that point.

All you can do is your best. Nothing can be more perfect that that. My favorite philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” Smart guy.

Perfectionism