How To Fix Being A Perfectionist

How To Fix Being A Perfectionist

Hint: You can't.


One day last spring, not long before I graduated, my mother brought something to my attention. She mentioned something about me being too hard on myself. And I remember wondering just what in the world she was talking about.

At first, I thought maybe she was telling me that I tried too hard. This frustrated me, because I had been called a "try hard" and "over achiever" many times, and wondered why everyone always encouraged you to do your best until you actually did, and then they objected to it.

But my mother hadn't been saying that at all. What she was trying to get across to me, I soon found out, was that I was too hard on myself when I failed. I had nearly boundless grace for others and saved none of it for myself.

The realization truly struck me after I looked through a journal entry addressed to myself after making a big mistake. Reading those words written on the paper, cruel and awful antagonizing words I had written against my own self, almost brought me to tears.

That was certainly the first conviction point, but then I started overthinking and trying to figure out just how in the heck I was supposed to fix being a perfectionist.

Oh, the irony.

I literally tried to figure out how to fix being a perfectionist. My perfectionistic mind worked that way. When it recognized a problem, it immediately set to work on fixing it.

I felt like I was having an identity crisis, and coming to recognize that my perfectionism was part of me was difficult to accept. I didn't want it, but I was glad that it had finally been brought to my attention at the very least.

If you're not a perfectionist, you may not resonate with this article at all. But if you feel like maybe you're a bit perfectionistic as well, maybe this well help you in some way.

What's so wrong with being a perfectionist?

First of all, you will never ever see yourself as good enough. Everything you do will seem mediocre at best if that. You will work harder than lots of people, but still, never feel as satisfied with your work as they are with their own.

When you hurt, sometimes it's harder to open up because once you've allowed your perfectionist mind to settle in, you begin to feel as though everyone else expects you to be perfect, too.

And therefore, many times you don't reach out for help, you never let anyone see you cry, you hide all your struggles behind your mask of whatever you perceive as perfect. You feel alone. You tend to compare your life to what others' lives appear to be and wonder why you aren't as good as you want to be.

Let me tell you from experience: that's rough. Listen to me, love. That's no way to live, and you have to fight it. There's no way to truly fix being a perfectionist, and that's okay because it's part of who you are.

But it's not okay to allow that idea of perfect to loom over your head every day of your life. You can't be perfect. I know you probably understand this consciously, but your subconscious mind may not, and you have to try really hard to cut yourself some slack. Try on some grace for size. Easier said than done, but I promise you'll feel better.

How can you fight your own perfectionistic mind?

Embrace your brokenness. For me, this has been the greatest weapon against my perfectionism. We are all broken, and it's the broken pieces that make us individuals, that give us our personalities and identities and shape us into who we are.

If we embrace our brokenness and look at the beauty that can come from our scars and flaws, we won't worry so much about how we are far from perfect. Perfect would be boring.

Remind yourself of that. Write notes to yourself, stick them on your bathroom mirror. Write things like grace and beautifully broken and loved. You can create a positive mindset out of a perfectionist's mind. I still have a long ways to go, but with lots of help from Jesus and some focus on giving myself as much grace as I would give my loved ones, I am making progress.

My mother sent me to college with a necklace that represented beautifully broken people. It's from Bryan Anthony's if you want to check it out. Anyways, It's a beautiful necklace that looks like broken pieces put together. Keywords here: beautiful and broken. You can be both.

You are both. I wear this necklace every day to try to remember to breathe and to give myself some grace. Stop comparing yourself to other people and pretending that they're perfect.

Stop expecting yourself to be perfect. And, maybe most importantly, stop thinking that everyone else expects you to be perfect because they don't. We're all just doing the best we can. Hang in there, fellow perfectionists.

There's never anything wrong with trying hard, but you are the only one who can take a stand against your perfectionism and say; I know you're a part of me, but you are not going to take all of me.

Popular Right Now

It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

To The High School Senior Wishing She Could Fast-Forward To Graduation, Careful What You Wish For

Don't wish this time away.


As the last stretch of my freshman year of college stands before me, I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago today. I've thought about how fast the time has gone, but also how much has happened in that year.

A year ago, I decided what college I was going to and was getting ready to graduate, and honestly counting down the days until graduation. Senior year was almost over, and I couldn't wait to walk across that stage, get my diploma, and FINALLY get to start my real life. However, now that it's a year later I honestly barely remember all those little moments and it feels like literally a world ago when I was in my high school and making my Senior Board full of pictures of my childhood. And part of me wishes that I hadn't wished all that time away.

So, to my high school seniors out there — I encourage you to cherish all the memories you are making. I encourage you to spend time with your parents and savor the meals you have with them and enjoy the conversations where your mom asks all the mom questions about your day, and your dad tells a story from his childhood that you've heard a million times before. I encourage you to appreciate the friends you have, and whether or not you plan to stay friends with them after graduation, be grateful for the time with them in this season and the role that they played in your life.

I ask you to look around your high school, stop and stare at the walls that you've probably been praying to get out of for a few months now and appreciate the memories and times you've had in those buildings. Whether or not high school was a great time for you or a bad time, it was a time of growth and the place where you matured and made mistakes and succeeded.

Seniors, enjoy these last few months because before you know it you'll blink and it will be a year later and you'll be miss those days that you complained about, those teachers you rolled your eyes at, and those friends that you shared that time with.

Related Content

Facebook Comments