It's Okay To Not Be Perfect
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It's Okay To Not Be Perfect

Something I wish I'd known sooner.

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It's Okay To Not Be Perfect
Church Plant Media

Dear high school self:

I know you feel like you’ll let everyone down if you don’t get straight A’s and I know you feel like a failure when you can’t keep up with the boys in soccer conditioning. I know you die a little inside every time you can’t connect with the hoop in a basketball game, and I know you still cringe when you think of that time up front you couldn’t get through your piano piece. I know you felt guilty for giving yourself a break and not taking that one hard class the teacher said you would regret not taking. And, I know you feel like you’ll never be pretty enough.

But stop.

Step back.

You. Don’t. Have. To. Be. Perfect.


This is for all the perfectionists, whether self-trained or outwardly driven. While it’s good to strive to be the best you can be, if no one has told you before, it’s also OK to not be perfect. It’s OK to not be best at everything. It’s OK to make mistakes and learn from them.

It’s OK to be human.

Despite what some would have you believe, all the rest of us are. Even robots aren’t exempt from flaws. (Seriously, there are plenty of movies showing all the ways robots aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. So, that argument is not an option.)

Seriously, even Michael Phelps, the one some claim is the “Greatest Olympian Of All Time” felt the weight of hopelessness and failure. Nobody has it all figured out, nor should we be expected to.

Now, it’s true that perfectionism can drive us to do great things. It can drive us to study longer, train harder or work longer, but with such high standards, when failure does hit – in whatever form it takes for each individual – it tears us down.

It tears us down because we’ve grown up expecting more from ourselves. If only I’d done this… if only that… the questions eat at us incessantly. Perfection can drive us, but it surely is not always healthy. Sometimes we refuse even to ask for help because that would somehow showcase our own inabilities and shortcomings.

And then there are those that have voices all around them – teachers, parents, coaches, whoever – that drive the idea into them that they aren’t good enough if they make mistakes. If you have those people in your life – the ones that lead you to believe you as a person aren’t enough even at your best, even if they’re your best friend, take a step back. When those aspirations to be perfect cause you to neglect your own health and sanity, take a step back. When your desire to be perfect renders you incapable of accepting criticism without breaking down or lashing out, take a step back.

Just because it's the only way of living you've ever known, doesn't mean it has to be the only way you ever live.

Learn to love yourself – flaws and all. Learn it sooner rather than later. Do it for your physical health, your mental health and your happiness. You are brilliant and exquisite and you are not defined by a plaque or a trophy or a job promotion. It’s OK to hold yourself to a high standard – good even, sometimes – but give yourself room for mistakes. Accept that making mistakes allows us to learn and grow. Don’t buy into the idea that failure is the end.

You are human, you have a purpose, and you are enough.

Mistakes and failures included.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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