“Strive for progress, not perfection” has been something of a motto for me over the past year. I spent most of my life trying to be perfect and falling extremely short of the goal. I can’t say exactly at what point I decided to give up on perfection, and it still sneaks up on me sometimes and threatens to choke the joy out of life.
Do you suffer from a secret, or even perhaps overt, obsession with perfection? I feel your pain and hope to offer some words of wisdom and relief.
Here are 5 ways to strive for progress, not perfection.
1. Look around you; no one is perfect.
All those posts on social media that show a seemingly sweet life never give the whole picture. Your friend may appear put together and happy in her photos and posts, but you know that her life isn’t always coming up roses. She has challenges in her relationships, days when she feels less than even average, and has negative thoughts about herself.
2. Consider the message you’re sending.
You could be sending the wrong message to the people you love, especially children. Air-brushed and photo-shopped magazines and highly made-up and surgically altered models and movie stars all put a lot of pressure especially on young girls to look a certain way at all times. As a woman with influence in the lives of girls, be mindful that your attitude can help them be accepting of themselves or interpret their own flaws negatively.
3. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
This is difficult, but it has never been easier to do than when you give up on perfection.
4. Know yourself, and build on your strengths.
It’s perhaps wrong thinking that we should spend so much time attempting to develop our weak areas. While there’s nothing wrong with practice and personal development, strive to work from your strengths. Focus on what you do well and do that.
5. Accept who you are.
You were uniquely created for now…this time, this space. Take inventory and determine your strengths. What about your appearance is pretty? What is it about your personality that is attractive? What gifts do you have to share? Are you hospitable, kind, giving, loving? Do you enjoy helping other people? Think about the things that make you who you are and embrace those special qualities.
It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t allow what you perceive as flaws to ruin what should be a life well lived. Choose to be yourself, “warts and all,” and focus on fulfilling your purpose in this world. Strive for progress, not perfection.
You’ll also like Just Because She’s Pretty, Doesn’t Mean You’re Not, 7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Now, Anatomy of a Strong Woman, Being a Successful Leader Starts With You, and Don’t Let Your Failures Become Flounders