The Problem With Perfectionism

Perfectionism: Perfect is Impossible

You, your relationships, your career and your life are like works of art, and of course you want them to be perfect! That’s great, but you need to remind yourself that life is a “work in progress.” Even if you get what you think is the perfect job or lover, they will never be perfect, because nothing really is, even if it feels that way. Feel free to bask in a perfect feeling, but realize that life is like a beautiful garden and it requires continued cultivating and nurturing.

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Perfection is Futile

One of the world’s greatest artists, Leonardo da Vinci, said, “Art is never finished; only abandoned.” This means that there is a moment when every artist has to declare their work complete (not perfect) and walk away from it. It’s not about abandonment. Rather, it’s about letting something stand on its own. There is always something to refine or update—there is always something that could be better—but thinking that way can drive you crazy. When it comes to something your want in your life, get as close to it as you can, be happy with how far you’ve come and then share your accomplishment with others. After, move on to something else that’s fulfilling.

Da Vinci realized what must be understood to succeed in all areas of life, not just art: Strive for the ideal (in love, career, etc.), but don’t expect perfection. Expecting perfection is futile. There will be many perfect moments or elements, but overall perfection is unrealistic.

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The Perfect Job

Are you looking for that perfect job? First, what would that look like exactly? Is it what you would have considered perfect 10 years ago—or 10 years from now? Probably not. If you’re sitting at your desk right now wanting something more fulfilling or hoping for something better, consider that the best place to start creating a “perfect” job is by making the one you have better.

If that sounds silly or impossible, it’s good to recognize that what you have is actually what you wanted at one point. See, you already succeeded at getting the “perfect” job! But over time you became unsatisfied. But you don’t have to abandon your current job to find a “perfect” job. You can make the job you have the one you want again. You just need to cultivate and nurture it like you first did. But do it with the understanding that it will never be perfect. An imperfect job can still be a great job!

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The Perfect Mate

Even the best relationships don’t consist of two perfect people. You and your partner are always changing and growing, and that means you can and will let each other down on occasion. Even if your partner falls short of your expectations, and you fall short of theirs, you can still have a lot of fun. But before the fun starts again, you need to be able to forgive each other so you can grow as a couple. Forgiveness makes you a better person (not a perfect person). Mutual acceptance in a relationship also creates a strong foundation for life-long love. That’s a real achievement, and it makes your relationship better.

The Perfect You

If you’re a perfectionist, it’s difficult to love and accept yourself just the way you are. Do you think you could be thinner, prettier, funnier or sexier? Are you angry at yourself for not being these things? Try forgiving and accepting yourself for being human instead. If you can’t, how do you expect to be able to forgive and accept others? Loving others starts with loving yourself!

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There is no such thing as perfection, whether it’s a job, a mate or a you. Instead of striving for an unattainable goal, take the opportunities when you or a loved one fall short of expectations to practice acceptance. That’s actually the perfect opportunity to forgive more and love more. And remember, perfectionism is problematic because it is impossible to achieve.

13 thoughts on “The Problem With Perfectionism

  1. Ermelinda Vensorio

    i have now realize that i am a perfectionist, because i want that my boyfriend would be a perfect but it doesnt, so we have a misunderstanding now, I really wanted all the things will be in proper but sometimes i just find out it that is not going through, i hope I can fix my broken heart now, I just leave it to God. Thanks all these things are very true, that nobody is perfect and i hope our relation will be fix again.

  2. caro

    Great food for thought! Forty (40) years ago I was told by my Business School Teacher that I was a Perfectionist, graduating Business School 1st in my Class; I took a train to the City everyday and teachers who lived in the City would call me when major roads were closed by the Govt. due to weather asking if I planned to go to school, because otherwise it would be closed. I was a book worm and of course I went to school ! ! ! BUT, I was told by the Head of the School that being a Perfectionist that rest assured, some day, I was going to ‘fall apart’. In my eyes I don’t feel I ever fell apart until my Father passed away & that had nothing to do with being perfect. Guess I’ve always thought of myself as the Disciplinarian of the family when it comes to my 4 children wanting the very best for them. I am going to have to reevaluate my thoughts after reading this article….than you!

  3. SRB

    Very true! I have a perfectionist mentality (Virgo)… when it comes to my home, my man, and me building my career. My boo and I are going through a rough patch in our relationship. I was without him for 13 days. Felt like the worst 13 days of my life. I learned to forgive and I started doing yoga so I can stop stressing about things I can’t control. It works! As far as my job, I love the point that was mentioned about nurturing the job I have… This article was right on time.

  4. editha


  5. Homa

    Thank you for your advice. It was a wake up call for me . I am actually a perfectionist and because of that I have made my life miserable. I will work on myself to be happy with whatever I have now.


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