Be Real, Not Perfect

I read a quote this past week that resonated with me.  It is a simple one, but the message it holds is quite powerful. It goes like this…


“We are not perfect human beings, nor do we have to be, but it is necessary for us to be the best version of ourselves we can be.” -Satsuki Shibuya


Growing up I was a perfectionist, not by the influence of my parents, family or friends but from within myself. I did not expect anyone else around me to be perfect, but for some reason I insisted on achieving perfection in all that I would do.  


At a young age, perfectionism didn’t seem like a major issue since it applied to situations in my life that could easily be “perfected”, such as buying the perfect outfit for picture day, making a school project look perfect with many details, maintaining perfect grades, or having a perfect plan for life. However, looking back, I now feel that being a perfectionist caused me to have always been my harshest critic and made me base my self-worth on my accomplishments and other minuscule, unimportant things in life.


After leaving my small hometown to attend college at UT Austin, it didn’t take me long to realize I had to transform my mindset or I would never be “enough” for myself to truly be happy. My transition to college was not an easy one. My journey began with taking classes I didn’t have the strongest backgrounds in and as a result caused academic struggles I wasn’t accustomed to. Furthermore, my old study habits weren’t working, I was doubting my career path, my sleep schedule was non-existent, I missed my family and I didn’t enjoy dorm living – all things a perfectionist would understandably have trouble adjusting to due to a lack of control.  


As a fourth-year student, I have a better understanding of what college is like and all the hardships I experienced now seem normal for students to endure while transitioning to a more “adult” lifestyle of independence and change. Although it was very difficult at the time, my experience has proved to me that perfection is NOT a reality nor should it be. Life is a journey, where we are supposed to feel free to make mistakes and figure out our passions and who we are - not feel pressure to be perfect.

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You DO NOT have to have it all figured out today, tomorrow, or the next day. For all those who have their fair share of self-doubt, as I have, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t feel the need to be “perfect” or even close to it. There is beauty in making mistakes. It’s a chance to grow and learn as a human being.


Therefore, I encourage each of you to not be too hard on yourselves, life didn’t come with a manual. But you’ve made it this far, despite all the challenges life has brought you. You do not have to look like that girl on social media. You do not need to be in a relationship. You do not need to have life all figured out. Be the best version of yourself you can be and that will bring you joy. Do not live your life trying to please others, because after all nobody has to face the same battles you do.  


More than anything in the world, I wish you a life full happiness. Life is too short to spend it at war with yourself. It is easier said than done, I know, but if you work at it every day the self-healing process will bring you closer to the person you want to be. Life won’t change from one day to the next, and every day won’t be full of sunshine, but there is always a tomorrow and another opportunity to start fresh.


Lastly, let’s work together to stop a vicious cycle that allows the thought of perfectionism as something that is attainable from influencing our youth. Instead, I hope to see them grow up in a society that embraces diversity and saves them from facing the harsh self-doubt and criticisms that have been normalized today. I would be devastated to one day have my younger sister, who only worries about which Hatchimal she wants next, to come to me and say she doesn’t feel, look or think she’s beautiful because she doesn’t look like what society defines as perfect.


You are beautiful darling, don’t ever stop believing in yourself or your strength. In the words of Beyoncé “perfection is a disease of a nation” and I hope that one day it will be eliminated.

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