Why do some people feel the need to be perfect all of the time? As though the world is going to end if things don’t go right—or if things go a little differently? Kate Hagerty shares her thoughts on how to love being perfectly imperfekt and what she ultimately learned about herself.
“How To Love Being Perfectly Imperfekt”
By Kate Hagerty
I love what I do.
I specialize in helping people get on track so they can live their best, most authentic lives.
A large part of my practice as an intuitive healer and coach is working with clients who struggle with feeling (or thinking) not only that they need to be perfect, but that everything has to be perfect. Their need for control in certain areas of their lives can be overpowering at times—and even debilitating.
I try to help them understand why they put so much pressure on themselves in the best way I know how. By looking inward.
I am a big believer that the Universe brings us things we need to work on. That’s how I approach my work with my clients. They all have unique needs that I can attend to through my own experiences and learnings. Which begs these questions…
How to love being you
What do we really think will happen if we are discovered to be (gasp!) human after all? Imperfect, beautiful beings with all the dreadful things that follow suit? The good, the bad, the ugly, and the glorious? The answer may actually surprise you.
I have found that people who struggle with perfectionistic tendencies the most (and who have done so throughout most of their lives) often come from highly dysfunctional environments. Their perfectionistic habits commonly develop out of a deep need to feel safe and in control of at least some part of their world growing up.
I know this because I’ve lived it, too.
I felt that way navigating the dysfunctional environment of my family.
My dad lost his job a lot when I was young. It felt like financial instability and stress were present at every meal—around every holiday and birthday. My parents’ marriage was not a happy one and there was a constant, palpable tension in the house. I felt trapped and completely out of control around all of it. But what was I to do? I was just a kid.
At a subconscious level, my thought process went something like this: If my environment is not safe, then at least I can control my grades, what I wear, what I eat, etc.
As an adult, a therapist friend of mine once suggested that I go out and make mistakes—on purpose. I will admit this gave me heart palpitations, but I did it, nonetheless.
The point was for me to understand that the world did continue to rotate, the sky did not fall, and things did work out. Even if my life was not perfect.
This was a great lesson for me to learn, even as an adult. I was able to accept where I had come from—and where I was going. This experience definitely helped me to relax more, but my sensitivity about my childhood and reluctance to make mistakes still has never dissolved completely.
A perfect example (yes, I used the word perfect) was not too long ago, when I had a full day of networking meetings. I left the house dressed professionally and went through the day noticing nothing out of the ordinary. Until, I got home and took off my coat… Then, I looked down and realized I had two different shoes on!
I laughed out loud at how silly this was and that I hadn’t noticed anything out of place or off the entire day. I thought to myself, “Thank God no one noticed!” followed by, “Hey, this is an opportunity for me to share that I’m not perfect, No one is. It’s a chance or me to be vulnerable, authentic, and admit it out loud, not only to myself, but publicly.”
So, I took a picture of my feet donning my mismatched shoes and posted it on Facebook.
I got tons of comments from friends and colleagues who took the time to share their own “mix-matched” stories and laugh with me—not at me.
Sharing my imperfection that day was healing. I actually learned that the sky did not fall, and no one laughed at my expense. I created a connection, not just between me and the individuals who commented on my post, but between them as well. No one is perfect.
Something I believe is incredibly valuable for those who feel the need to have everything aligned and in perfect unison—is that this behavior can create unnecessary barriers. Your relationships can be tainted (and I’m not just talking about your relationships with others). I mean with yourself.
I have learned that seeking perfection can hinder genuine connection with other human beings; and can completely snuff out space to be vulnerable and authentic.
Perfect repels even when it is the polar opposite of what we need and want most.
So, now what?
If you would like to challenge your own perfectionism, here are two ideas. First, find some inspirational affirmations to post around your home, car, office, etc. They can be things like, “I am enough,” “I am perfect” or whatever resonates most for you. I think it’s important that they are visually pleasing, so they manifest a strong, positive feeling when you look at them.
Second, go out and make a mistake on purpose like I was advised to do a while back. Take a picture of what happened (the outcome) and share it on Facebook. Own the fact that you are a real person who isn’t perfect 24/7. I know, I know. It is terrifying to consider, but I promise you will be touched and comforted by the responses you get. You may even laugh out loud at some of the personal stories others share with you.
To summarize, if you have struggled with perfectionism and the feeling that you need to be perfect all of the time—know that you are not alone. In fact, right now, right here, at this very moment, exactly as you are, you are already perfect or perfekt.
And, yes, it is perfectly perfekt—whichever way you choose to spell it.
About the Author: After spending 30+ years in corporate America, Kate Hagerty took a leap of faith to seek her true-life purpose. Today, Kate is a certified Life Purpose & Relationship Coach, Intuitive, Speaker, Author, and the Founder & CEO of Soul Purpose. To contact, visit www.soulpurpose.biz.
Editor’s note: If you enjoyed this article, “How To Love Being Perfectly Imperfekt”, you might like “Saying Goodbye To The Old You” next.