These are good traits, right? Society tells us they are a sure-fire recipe for success, but perfectionism is a slipperly slope. Get the proportions wrong and this mix can be toxic. Yes, we’d all love to nail every job assignment… launch the successful business… score the promotions… earn the A’s… keep our homes immaculately clean… cook gourmet meals… have impeccably behaved children… and look svelte, stylish and camera-ready while doing it. Whew, I’m exhausted just reading that… How about you?
In truth, life isn’t about prancing around in pristine white (though it does make for pretty blog photos – and I’ll get to the fashion at the end). Perfectionism will not only drive you nuts, it impacts those you love. It took me 30+ years to learn this… and I’m still struggling with it. If you’re type-A like me, it’s unlikely you can quit perfectionism cold turkey. So let’s talk about ways to temper these tendencies. To illustrate, I’m going to share a few examples of mistakes I’ve made.
V-neck midi dress | Convertible Clutch (similar just $10) | Tassel Earrings (similar)
It’s 3 a.m. I’m staring in frustration at a line on my computer screen. I’ve written and re-written my lead sentence six times… but can’t seem to get it right. It just doesn’t have the punch and impact I want. My husband thinks I’m crazy. “It’s just a blog post hun, not an investigative report,” he says. “People don’t read more than a few sentences anyway.”
He’s right. I obsess over nuances no one else will care about and did the exact same thing as a journalist and news anchor. I always made my deadlines, but would use every ounce of time available for writing, editing and finessing my copy. Often my story would “make slot” (our term for your piece airing at its proper time in the show) with minutes to spare, or I’d be tweaking scripts 30 seconds before reading them on-air. I was letting perfectionsim paralyze my productivity. The lesson? We need to prioritize.
We can’t put everything we have into everything we do.
Choose what matters most to you, go all in, then do your best with the rest. For me, that means accepting that not all stories will be award-winners. Why overthink it? Sometimes done is good enough.
Have you ever noticed it’s much easier to recognize beauty in someone else, than to see it in yourself? We have no problem looking past the flaws of others—eager to applaud their beautiful personality, their brilliant mind, their creative soul. But when turn the mirror on ourselves, we tend to get hung up on the little things.
Treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you’d offer someone else.
Growing up as a gymnast, dancer and competitive cheerleader, I have always had nagging voices when it comes to body image. I’d watch elite competitors on TV (or other girls at that gym) with a twinge of envy, wishing my thick, muscular legs could duplicate their graceful lines. Lose weight—I’d tell myself—and you’ll look like them; you’ll land that skill or hit that stunt.
It started out as a few pounds… then a few more… then it became all I could think about. Want to know the calorie content of anything? I can probably tell you. When you’re a perfectionist, you don’t do anything halfway. Was it an eating disorder? No. Thankfully, it never got that far, but it was certainly disordered eating. My pre-college weight obsession worried my family, pulled my attention away from other more important things, and was a collosal waste of time.
What pulled me out of it and prevents me from going back down that road? 1) Realizing my internal monologue was way off base. I would never be that harsh to someone else, so why should I treat myself that way? 2) My husband. He genuinely loves the things I considered flaws and makes me feel comfortable in my own skin in a way I never imagined possible. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you really are.
My Dress | Convertible Clutch (similar just $10) | Tassel Earrings (similar)
Perfectionists love to compare, assess and strategize. We like to ensure we “measure up” by using the achievements of others as a gauge. On one hand, this is a great plan. It’s wonderful to have a mentor or industry hero you can emulate. Their successes can be instructional and serve as a road map. However, if we find comparison is spurring more negative than positive thoughts, or adding stress to our lives, it’s time to change direction.
Remember, the timeline of success is shaped by our circumstances. Each journey is unique.
As a blogger, I often find myself looking at the growth of other accounts and websites. Instead of obsessing about where I stand in relation, I’ve chosen to celebrate their achievements and diverse paths. Blogging is a side project for me, other women are pursuing it full time. I do social media/snap photos during nap time, other influencers have more time to plan out their shoots or engage on Instagram. Both paths are equally valid. There is room for all of us to succeed and it’s much easier to do that when collaborating with like-minded pals.
Find a tribe (or friend) with similiar goals and cheer each other on! The lovely lady in red is one of those people for me. She’s also lives in Lafayette, Indiana and blogs about faith, family and modest fashion on AlexandraAmnesty.com. We get together to snap photos and talk about the ins-and-outs of running a blog.
Ruffled Skirt (45 percent off!) | Crochet/Lace Top
This post is getting long, so let’s dive into the fashion quick. These pretty spring pieces are all from Chicwish. I have had such good luck with that retailer. If you love feminine dresses, blouses and skirts, this site is a must-visit!
My first dress, the Moonlit Night V-Neck Midi is gorgeous in all directions. It has a beautiful V-back (modest, not plunging), quality fabrics, and is lined. Perfect for a bridal shower, Easter brunch, family photos, or a vacation stroll. I’m just shy of 5′ to give you an idea of the length and wearing the XS.
The blue ruffled skirt is a fashion blogger favorite and 45 percent off right now! It looks amazing in photos and is super fun to take on a trip. I brought it with me to Florida and paired it with this darling lace top. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have an iron, so excuse the fabric creases – oops). The skirt runs a bit small, I ordered the XS would have preferred a S. If you’re between sizes opt for the larger one for comfort. The top has been on major repeat in my closet! I’ve worn it with jeans, tucked under a blazer and with skirts. Keep in mind, this one isn’t lined, so you will need a nude bra, bralette, bandeau, or tank underneath.
Think of a person who radiates self-assurance, who seems to have an innate gift…
Tara | 12th Apr 19
Thanks for posting this. I love your honesty. Number 2 really hit home for me- see yourself in someone else’s eyes. That’s such good advice. We are always harder on ourselves than on others. That’s a really good point to remember.
laveremis | 12th Apr 19
It means so much to hear that! Sometimes you feel vulnerable in honesty, but I figure we can all learn from our shared and differing experiences. Thanks so much for taking the time to read this.
Kelli | 17th Apr 19
Your writing is so outstanding and your message is honest and real. And we can’t forget the fabulous photos that go along with this post. Love!!
laveremis | 17th Apr 19
Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings Kelli! You are so sweet. I’m hoping that this kind of message will help someone dealing with similar issues.
Sarah Hood | 10th Oct 22
Love this article, especially tip number 3. It’s something I’m spending more time pondering as a competitive athlete.
laveremis | 5th Nov 22
Hi Sarah, thanks for taking the time to stop by! Yes, it’s so tough to shake off perfectionism as a competitive athlete. We are often our own worst critic!
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