Putting the Painful Pursuit of Perfection in the Past


Maybe you’ve always dreamed of growing up to marry your prince charming, live in a beautiful house with two dogs, a wrap-around porch, and a huge tree just perfect for hanging a tire swing.

Or maybe you’ve dreamed of having the perfect job, lots of money, and being comfortable financially -- able to purchase basically anything you ever wanted.

Or maybe you’ve wanted to travel and have the time of your life, flexing your artistic muscles by taking photos, trying new foods, visiting countries all across the world, creating memories to tell for a lifetime.

Maybe your dream is different. I don’t know.

But I do know you have one.

A dream. A life you imagine for yourself. And even those of you who already have a stable job, a house, and a family. I’m sure there are days when you think, If I only had ________.If only _______ would have happened differently. If I could change this, fix that...

Our minds are constantly searching. But for what?


Perfection is a ruler we often use to measure our validity in this world.

We all chase it.

We crave it.

But is it healthy?

Is it even attainable?

I’ve been reading a book called The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, and it has incredible guidelines for living a wholehearted life rather than a “perfect” life.

All of these dreams we dream are great, but they can become skewed if the wrong mindset is what drives them.

If our dreams become so perfected in our head that they are completely out of reach, that’s when we need to take a step back. Reevaluate. Re-dream our dreams into reality.

Because perfection is unattainable.

We can put lots of pressure on ourselves, work ourselves to death, punish ourselves for not being good enough, but in the end, that doesn’t really make a difference. Because we can only do our best.

To put it bluntly, sometimes our best doesn’t seem to be enough.

Oftentimes, the more we strive for perfection, the more we become disappointed at the sometimes-startling realization that we as humans are not capable of being, creating, or doing anything perfectly. We are flawed beings, and that has been true since the beginning of time.

For me, that’s sometimes where I’m able to find comfort.

I find peace in the fact that perfection is not a reality on this earth, and failure actually gives us the chance to learn and grow.

Remind yourself that it’s okay to fail. It’s normal. It’s okay to be disappointed, and it’s even okay to have mental or emotional breakdowns from time to time. It’s okay to be tired -- just tired of keeping it together in general. Day-to-day failures do not define your worth. You are not validated by how close to or how far away from reaching perfection that you are.

Just sit back. Be proud of yourself for what you accomplish. Accept the fact that things may have gone wrong and things will continue to go wrong. Accept the fact that you are “behind.” Accept the fact that you didn’t finish that assignment.

It’s okay.

There’s this prayer I’ve heard many times that I love, and it goes like this:

“ God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.”

Let this be your prayer today.

Let go of the idea of perfection. Strive to live a wholehearted life. Never stop pursuing your goals. Be a positive force in your own life and in the lives of others.

That's my idea of perfect.


Tupelo-native Clara Sanders is pursuing a degree in Food Science as a junior at Mississippi State University. She enjoys cooking, painting, reading, and exploring human behavior and psychology.