Our Lady of Weight Loss

Our Lady of Weight Loss

The Art of Imperfection: Seven Simple and Imperfect Ways to Crumple Up and Make Messy Your Perfectionism

No one is perfect… that’s why pencils have erasers. ~ Author Unknown
“What’s wrong with perfectionism?” you ask. “PLENTY,” I answer! … which, by the way, makes perfectionism totally imperfect.
Perfection is often linked with achievement, painstaking awareness to detail. Yet, it often produces procrastination (no point in doing something if I can’t do it perfectly), low self-esteem (if I am not perfect, no one will love me), low-productivity and in some cases obsession compulsive disorders, depression, sexual dysfunction, divorce and eating disorders.
Do or do not … there is no try. ~ Yoda, Star Wars
Life is full of obstacles, is it not? Therefore, life – in it of itself – is imperfect. Trying to be perfect goes against the grain of the natural flow of things, and it results in anxiety and fear of failure.
If perfectionism is interfering with your life, in any way (weigh), shape (pear shaped or apple) or form, I invite you to consider letting go of this potentially dangerous characteristic.

Seven Simple and Imperfect Ways to Crumple Up and Make Messy Your Perfectionism


1. Fake It Till You Make It. It helps to have a willingness, a strong desire to change and a bit of patience as you move through the process. If you are not there yet, that’s okay! You can pretend. Fake it! You will make it!
2. Embrace Fear. Everyone (with the exception of myself) says that you have to be FEARLESS. Guess what? Life is scary, fear happens. The trick is to knock it out of your way. When fear rears its ‘interesting’ head (not ugly – don’t want to insult it and make it any bigger), say “Helllooooo fear! Nice to see you. Here’s your hat; what’s your hurry.” In other words, acknowledge it and let it know that you appreciate him/her (in all likelihood ‘fear’ has good intentions), and then (seriously) open a window and door and send him/her out! Do it! Open that door, invite it OUT– empowering feelings will surface, I promise!
3. Practice Imperfection. What things can you do that ‘imperfection’ adds to; that imperfection makes better? How about going to one of those paint your own mug/bowl places. You pick out the ceramic piece, sit at a kid’s table, paint a picture or words, colors, whatever and then they ‘bake’ it for you. Thing is, the paint drips, colors blend. The baking process completely changes the look. You can display it proudly in your home. A symbol of your perfect imperfectness.
4. Try On Excellence. “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing”. ~ Harriet Beryl. We are here to strive for excellence, to grow, to change, to develop, to go forward, to evolve, not just improve.
5. Envision. Imagine your goals and dreams in great detail. See yourself happy and living just how and where you want to be, in all its glorious imperfection. Write it out. Make it real. And then commit to doing one imperfect thing today that will align you with your tomorrow.
6. Let It Go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Softly and sweetly, just let the idea of perfection float out into the clouds. (Video coming soon with instructions on how to let it go. Woo hoo.) Perfectionism takes up a lot psychic space. Clear your mind, unchain yourself from perfectionism, and realize that you have just created an amazing opening for freedom and creativity.
7. Nourish imperfectionism. Let us nourish the beginning of this new time in our lives. We have showed sweet perfectionism the door and know that seeds of imperfectionism have been planted. Bless these seeds, allow them to sprout and grow, in their own imperfect way.
Please leave a comment and share your seeds of imperfection. How will you add a tablespoon of delicious and satisfying imperfection to your life today?
For more perfectly fabulous imperfection, check out All Is Forgiven, Move On!

  • Renee

    After many, many years of trying for perfection (which was different for everyone)I have, at long last, given up on that! I hang on to one of my favorite scripture verses, Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, oh Lord, and renew a right spirit in me.” I have tweaked that for myself, for the right spirit to always find something good in everything. If I’m in a meeting that doesn’t go the way I had hoped, did I at least get a decent cup of coffee or somethinig get said that brought a chuckle to everyone? If I create a greeting card that isn’t “perfect,” some part of it is wonderful, like the colors work well together. If I didn’t get a card made and mailed in time to arrive before the event, a late card is better than a bill. When junk mail arrives, as it too frequently does, at least it’s not a bill for me. I’m not a super model and am overweight, but my husband loves me. There’s ALWAYS something good.

  • Mandy

    How to practice confessing to yourself and anyone else that you’re not perfect, and get a giggle over it: Wear two different earrings, two different socks or two different shoes (if you’re progressing!).

  • wendy

    As I allow myself to be “imperfect”, I find I am finally embracing my uniqueness and enjoying a flood of creativity! Who knew?

  • Marcin

    Nice. Right on the money with that “perfectionism causes procrastination and fear of failure” comment.

  • Marlene

    The idea of imperfection intrigues me. It allows you to embrace not only the good things but accept the fact that crap is and will happen. It also poses the idea that sometimes your “b” game is enough.

  • Merilee

    At long last I have finally found someone who shares my insight into the lonely, HUGELY IMPERFECT world if perfectionism! I am a “recovering perfectionist” from way back. For years I have been preaching the values of embracing imperfection (which is, in my eyes, perfect!). Most people look at me as if I’m from Mars. My biggest “pro-imperfection” argument lies in creation itself…no two snowflakes are alike, for example, and therein lies the truest form of perfection! Thank you for a wonderful article and I will continue to embrace my own imperfectionism and flourish in my boundless creativity as a result!

  • Thomas

    I am a guy, so my take on perfectionism is different than all you ladies. I have agonized over projects and spent way too much time, energy and money on them to try to make things better. Most of my friends are the same way. It does promote a lack of self esteem and loneliness. It also creates a huge sense of achievement when a project is finished. My problem is that I just do not have the time to keep this kind of attitude with everything I do. That saying I have to try to discipline myself which projects will get the full treatment and which will just get done as fast and efficiently as possible. This is very hard for me to do and I continuously have time management problems. I’m working on it though, Next week I am having a yard sale and getting rid of a bunch of those unfinished projects.

  • selena

    This article was so wonderfuly written and compelled me to make my first comment on the web. It has crossed my mind that I may have a perfectionism issue but now this article makes me take a second look. I don’t have any serious issue, well maybe I do and don’t even know it. What I do know is that sometimes, I become a procrastinator when it comes to doing a project no matter how simple. If I cannot do it the way I would like, I tend to let it go and then it becomes overwhelming. A perfect example is all the photos I have piled in bags and boxes of my now 4 yearold daughter. I always wanted to scrapbook them but never began. Now I also have a 9 month old son and none of them have a photo album. Your article gives me a refreshing perspective to just jump in and do it. Make a start.

  • Drew

    I am working now with the concept that even God is imperfect and involved in a learning process – our experiences are feedback for God to learn from.

  • Barbara Wenger

    I love check lists–they provide a quick reference for “getting on with it”..5 days ago i started seriously researching and writing a piece I have been mulling over/thnking about/explaining etc.etc.for over 2 years…..Just do it, the logo says. the fear has revealed itself to be excitement…I’m writing not the “perfect piece” but a ‘loveletter” of sorts to a mentor ( who lived in the 1th century no less.

  • Lourdes

    MY IMPERFECT SEED: WHEN THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED, STOP TAKING IT PERSONALLY. LIFE IS NOT AN ALL OR NOTHING BATTLE. IT’S NOT EVEN A BATTLE AT ALL. IT’S A CHOICE. Thanks for introducing me to this part of myself. hi! I am Lourdes the Hidden Perfectionist and I have just lived in California and I WAS (am… WAS… still working on RULE #1) sad because all the perfect thoughts I have of a life here is a little different from the reality I had conjured up for myself. BUT stepping back I realize, I have it good. All the while I feel sorry for myself and that wrong things are nature’s plot against me to separate me from my dreams, that causes my loved ones’ disappointment towards me… And I go crazy. I realized perfectionism is that shadow that whispers behind me saying “No, don’t let it happen to you, it’s an insult to your personhood, you deserve better, don’t settle for this, you will look bad,what will they say about you?” RULE #6: Let it go. Not simple. Not easy, but it works. Thanks, my choices may not be perfect but it’s me and with great faith and trust in the Lord, it will work.

  • Julie

    I so agree with Barbara Wenger. The best way to stop procrastinating, which is commonn in perfectitonists is to JUST DO IT! For me that’s the only way I can perform even daily tasks, otherwise, it doesn’t get done and becomes overwhelming. Besides being a perfectionist I also suffer from chronic pain from TMJ, fibro, herniated discs, bone spurs, sinusitis and the list goes on. I have to say I’ve been feeling so miserable mentally and physically for the last two months that I have let my life become overwhelmed. It isn’t only good for me, but, also my 16 yr. old son. How I wish I could perform at a higher level; I pray every day for strength, courage, guidance and a painfree day. My faith is strong and I believe I will receive these gifts – just how much longer must I suffer before they become reality?
    Thank you for letting me vent.

  • Half nelson 18 may.2008

    I very much agreed because I have seen people, especially wives have taken all the fun,and pleasure out of there homes because they are a perfectitonists.Children cannot sit in the sofa, husband cannot lay in the bed,etc.And this very often leads to seperation,and devorce. another thing it causes one to live in a world of vain Glory, Yes false pretends.A jentlemen once said he woke up one night at 2:00am in the morning,got out his bed to use the bethroom, and when he got back to bed his wife had already made up the bed.CAN YOU EMAGINE?
    Thank you very much for the space.

  • gsimonin

    One year, I gave up my perfectionism for Lent; the new found freedom was incredible. When Lent was over, I felt so free, I decided to not take it back up. I’ve become more spontaneous, easy-going (mostly), and enjoying Life a whole lot more. Do it!

  • Sharon

    Not only must we let these things go, in the bible GOD (and Christ) says that we are created equal in GOD’s eyes, and to him we are perfect. Each day that passes by and I have one of my compulsive disorder (I have this disorder where everything has to be perfectly rearranged, cleaned, organized, and falling into place because if not I freak out) rears it’s ugly head I have to stop and pray and leave whatever it is that I was starting to freak out about because it wasn’t perfect, then I feel just fine.

  • Cathy

    Many years ago I was a high strung perfectionist… everything in my home symetrical, every dish turned with the design the same direction… some will relate to this. My dear friend and I were talking about my wanting to increase my sales. She felt I needed to increase my creative side… and proceeded to make everything in my home asymetrical. It was so difficult for me and felt horrible at first. After a few weeks it began to bother me less. Over the years I have learned that to be human is to be imperfect. Life is so much better without all that extra self imposed stress… and my sales went up and have never gone down.

  • Leah

    I can identify with so many of these people. I too pray for release from this destructive affliction. I too suffer with chronic pain, I have goals to complete in a day, but I procrastinate. Unless you have experienced this behavior it’s hard to explain to others. My husband trys to understand, but he thinks I can just give it to God and be free.I would like nothing more!

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