Today is Day 14 of my 31 Days of Self-Love posts to celebrate Self-Love Month with suggestions for jump-starting your own self-love and joining The Self-Love Movement™.

It can be exhausting to be on a mission to be perfect and can set the critical voices in your head on overdrive. I’ve watched people spend their whole lives being unhappy when their version of perfection never comes. They’re never satisfied, which correlates to rarely feeling completely happy. It’s hard to feel content when you spend your time trying to “fix” yourself or chasing elusive qualities that you never get “right.” Often when you strive for perfection, deep down you’re looking for complete control over you and your life, which is as impossible as being perfect. The interesting side effect is that the need for perfection ends up controlling you, and that’s NOT loving!

This mentality creates great frustration as perfection doesn’t come. Feeling a need to be perfect puts unnecessary pressure on you and keeps you from appreciating all the good stuff you are and have. And it keeps you from loving yourself until you’re perfect, which doesn’t happen. The need for perfection puts you in a prison of sorts if you can’t be happy with less than perfect. It’s critical to release how it has you stuck if you want to be able to love yourself. Otherwise, you can spiral out of control from the negative emotions created when anything is less than perfect. It even leads some people to go into depressions, which is very unloving.

The need for perfection is usually created by fear. Perfection can seem like an antidote to the repercussions you believe come with not being perfect. This fear may have started from experiences at any time in your life. Think back to what was going on when you began to strive for perfection.

•    You may have only received love growing up if you got perfect grades, stayed perfectly clean, performed perfectly at a skill you were learning and had perfect behavior. Anything less than perfect may have brought negative consequences and you still have that association today.

•    You may have been criticized by romantic partners for not having a perfect body or not making enough money or for other things that did damage to your ego. That could create an association with needing to be perfect to attract or keep love.

•    A past mistake might have cost you a promotion or you got ridicule for it. This can make you not want to make another mistake at all costs.

The need to be perfect can make you avoid things you’d like to do because you’re scared of not doing it well. My kindergarten teach made fun of my artwork and for years I drew pictures and painted “in the closet”—secretly, never showing it to anyone. People choose not to continue their education if they’re scared of not getting A’s in all their classes. Striving for perfection is one of the biggest roadblocks for building self-love, and being happy!

I implore you to love yourself enough, or at least want to love yourself enough, to give yourself permission to make mistakes, do things that are just okay, and not worry about it—to be imperfect, which means you’re human. I never was perfect but for years tried to be. I was a perfect good girl and tried hard to perfectly please everyone. Knowing my body wasn’t perfect made me not even try to look good. Why bother? Since I decided to live imperfectly, I have so much fun and my self-love has increased dramatically. And my artwork came out of the closet and hangs in my place.

When you let go of any need to be perfect—which is impossible anyway—you give yourself the freedom to relax and be human. Then mistakes won’t trigger a beating up on yourself session. Gaining a pound won’t make you feel awful. You’ll have less to prove to others and can just be yourself imperfectly. I’ve discovered that allowing yourself to be imperfect helps you accept yourself so self-love can grow faster.

One of the most self-loving things you can do is to give yourself permission to not be perfect! It will help you relax and enjoy life, instead of wasting time stressing yourself with worries about how you look, what you do wrong and other things you’re not perfect at doing. Accept your imperfections as part of what makes you special. We all make mistakes. Most women have cellulite, even the celebs who look perfect on the red carpet. Many men have hair loss that’s beyond their control. Own who you are with love! Embrace yourself as imperfect. It gives you the freedom to:

•    Speak your mind more instead of trying to say what you think people want to hear
•    Say “no” to things you don’t want to do so you have more time for what you do like
•    Be more upbeat or silly instead of uptight about how you come across
•    Try more fun styles of dress instead of sticking with conservative styles to not stand out
•    Tap into your creative side, which often gets stifled when you want to be perfect

Love your imperfect self! And when you do something that isn’t perfect, instead of getting upset or self-critical, tell yourself, “It’s okay to not be perfect and I love you the way you are.” Enjoy the freedom and joy that not feeling a need to be perfect can bring. That says, “I love me!”

Join The Self-Love Movement™! Take the 31 Days of Self-Love Commitment and get my book, How Do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways for free at Read my 2012 31 Days of Self-Love Posts HERE.

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