A Letter to the Perfectionist in All of Us

There are times when you are thriving and all is going well in your life. You have the perfect school and work schedule, you were accepted as a new intern, you maintain executive positions in campus organizations, you’re in a good place with your family and friends, and you feel unstoppable. When it all seems just a little too perfect, you start to doubt yourself. You think you can do better or more. And that’s okay. Why? The truth is, you’ll only be fully satisfied with yourself once you accept yourself.

Courtesy: thegratefulist.com

Trusting yourself comes before accepting yourself. Adulting is hard. On top of being a full-time student, most of us have bills to worry about like rent, car payments, gas, groceries, phone, club fees, etc. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and intimidated by the daunting total of your bills. When you think, “How am I going to pay all of these bills”, remember you wouldn’t have taken all of this on without acknowledging the potential obstacles and outcomes. You signed up for all of it knowing that it was the way you could live comfortably and not have to worry about where you’ll find the resources. It’s easy to psych yourself out and wonder why you filled your plate but don’t be discouraged. You aren’t doing too much, you’re doing exactly like you should. Trust in your abilities to overcome obstacles and challenges that are at first seemingly undefeatable.

If you have always known you were a perfectionist, stop being so hard on yourself. Instead of fueling your low self-esteem, think of each time you have succeeded and that it can happen again. This is where trusting yourself comes back into play. Perfectionists undergo high stress and anxiety levels because of their fear fuels that voice in their head saying “You can’t do it” to prevail. It’s okay to make a mistake. It’s okay to fall, as long as you get back up. Don’t avoid failure. Now I know for some of us, that’s easier said than done but embrace failure as a learning opportunity. You’ll know for the next time how to approach a similar situation and create the outcome you wish to happen.

The upside to being a perfectionist is that you are very insightful and self-aware. You enjoy time alone reflecting and learning about yourself. Whether that be by meditation, exercise, journaling or just sitting on your balcony with a hot cup of coffee in the morning, you love the idea of being alone in your thoughts. In no way is being a perfectionist a bad thing, but don’t let it become self-criticism because that’s when you spiral into thoughts of evaluating yourself and thinking you failed. So if you take away anything, remind yourself that self-acceptance is the truest form of success and farthest from failure.