Perfectionism, aka the Newman to my Jerry Seinfeld.

In case I haven’t mentioned it enough, Perfectionism is the WORST. It’s never recognized as a horrible affliction like addiction, but isn’t that what it is? Your mind doesn’t recognize when you are good and well, and it craves this unattainable state that you harm yourself in pursuing.

With an extreme degree of vulnerability, I present to you many of the things I feel are imperfect about me. Regardless of whether you agree, these are what feel like HUGE flaws to me:

  • I’m not funny enough
  • I’m extremely unphotogenic
  • I haven’t traveled enough
  • My face isn’t that attractive
  • I don’t always react coolly when someone jokes
  • I apologize too often for things I didn’t necessarily do wrong
  • I won’t be able to buy a house in the foreseeable future
  • When I’m having a bad day, admitting to that is failure
  • If I don’t have a well-formed opinion on something, I’m not educated or smart enough

The list is FAR longer than that, but that sample should illustrate all the things I can find in myself that I don’t like. But guess what? At the same time, when I feel in control of my perfectionism, I feel really GOOD about a lot of those areas! Point for point, here’s how I feel when I have overcome my perfectionism:

  • I’m definitely known in my circles as someone who’s funny
  • I have some awesome profile pics on Facebook, which means that at least some of the time I look pretty good
  • I’ve been to a lot of countries with a healthy mix of first- and third-world, and I go out of town on weekends pretty darn often
  • I know my family and friends and SO don’t think I’m unattractive
  • I can joke back and forth with people without going negative
  • Standing my ground comes more easily as I practice it
  • Maybe I can’t buy a house in the Bay right now, but I really like what I’ve done with my own little apartment, and maybe one day — someplace else, or combined with my future spouse’s income — I can create a lovely home, regardless of the status attached with owning a home
  • Everyone has bad days, and I’m thankful to have people in my life who WILL listen and encourage me on those bad days
  • I know a lot about certain things. It’s awesome that I don’t try to argue a point despite being ignorant. That’s super annoying when people do that, and I don’t. Go me!

Not every day is perfect — in fact, no day is. And you know what’s even better? Taking the John Legend approach and celebrating “all your perfect imperfections.” I’m not going to argue that perfection would be boring, because we don’t know that. No one has been able to prove that theory. But I am going to argue that imperfections give us exciting opportunities to learn things about ourselves, or our partners, or our friends and family. Sometimes those realizations are painful, but most of the time they really help you strengthen yourself or know when to cut a relationship. And if you DON’T need to cut a relationship due to a realization, it usually emerges stronger and in turn develops you as well. I think that might be the best part of all.

I want to know more about perfection. What do you all know about perfectionism? How do you overcome your self-doubt?