Abandon Perfectionism

Years ago, when supermodel Cindy Crawford was asked about her famous looks, she was quoted as saying, “Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.”

She goes on to discuss her team of hair and make-up people who create her look, and that parts of her body are airbrushed in magazines; revealing that even she does not look like the images portrayed. This sends a powerful message that none of us are perfect, even someone as externally attractive as Cindy.

I appreciate her attitude and honest answer even though no doubt she is naturally beautiful. However, her remarks make a great point, that, even at her level, she too is not without flaws. Therefore, to strive to look like a magazine cover displaying someone who doesn’t even look like him or herself is clearly impossible to achieve.

Similarly, it is easy to look at others and think they have it all together, because they wear the right clothes, have a prestigious career, or earn a great deal of money. However, even those we admire who have achieved some of these goals are human like the rest of us. Granted, some people’s situations are more enviable and glamorous than ours, but they still have insecurities, regardless of their outward appearance or presentation.

After all, people and circumstances are not always what they seem. This is beautifully demonstrated in the childhood movie, The Wizard of Oz, when the curtain is pulled back, and we see an insecure man rather than a grand wizard.

It is comforting to realize that none of us are perfect and a huge relief as well. This topic was discussed in a speech class I took back in college, where we all feared getting up in front of the class and giving a less than perfect speech. Our teacher informed us that even if we provided a flawless presentation, there would always be someone who was not satisfied. Therefore, she taught us that we may as well relax, have a good time and please ourselves, rather than worrying about pleasing everyone else!

This did not mean however that we could:

  • Neglect doing our best work.
  • Engage in inappropriate behavior.
  • Become irresponsible and uncaring.
  • Neglect to “know our audience” when we spoke.

It simply meant to not become immobilized or enslaved to perfection by:

  • Striving for absolute flawlessness.
  • Resisting trying something new, because we might not do it perfectly.
  • Forgetting that even kids get to fall down when they are learning to walk.
  • Not allowing ourselves any flexibility when trying new things.

Striving to do our best is a wonderful goal, whereas, striving for perfection is clearly self-destructive. Therefore, whenever we are tempted to compare ourselves to others, we need to remember that we all put our pants on one leg at a time. This is a fun way to remember not to fear people or feel inferior to others, even if they appear to have it perfectly all together.

Action Step:

Strive to be the best you, instead of striving to be an airbrushed or artificial version of you.


25 thoughts on “Abandon Perfectionism

  1. I just wrote a post about being a tad more real than blogland or Facebook usually shows. “Keepin’ it real.” Thanks for writing this- it seems to be a topic I’ve come across a lot over the last week.

    • Good comments, thanks! Isn’t it ironic, that we often try to be someone else, in order to gain acceptance from people, who are also trying to be someone else? Seems easier to just accept ourselves from the beginning. 🙂

  2. The older you get the less likely you are to want to be like someone else, or perfect, or universally liked. Your perspective changes and you just want to enjoy your life. That is very freeing and fun!

  3. Most excellent post…both in the sense that things are not always what they appear to be ( I did a post called ‘Visibility’ with this theme… and also as a poignant reminder that striving for perfection can be destructive. Much enjoyed!

  4. I love this! And thanks for dropping by my page which led me to yours, I think I’m following you 🙂 your posts are very helpful.

    Warm regards,

    • Hi Criselda! I enjoyed visiting your blog and am pleased to see you here as well. It means a lot that you find the posts helpful and that you’re following my blog. 🙂 Thank you very much! Blessings, Cathie

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