The last thing I should probably be doing right now is starting another “thing,” but I want to get the ball rolling on this project I’ve had jostling around in my head for a while. I want to figure out whether it can become something viable or if it’s just a dead end. I think there might be something to it…
Here’s the idea: A book on perfectionism. Or, rather, the truth that there is no such thing as being perfect AND that the people you love and like the most are probably okay NOT appearing to be perfect. This book would serve as a glimpse into the imperfect lives of various individuals.
This comes from a personal place. I’m someone who is most definitely wired to strive for perfection — or at least to try to appear perfect. Over the last few years, I’ve done a lot of work — independently, with the help of friends, and with the help of therapists — to come to terms with the fact that I’m not perfect and THAT’S OKAY. In fact, that’s better.
After all, think about your favorite people. They are probably folks who are open. Willing to share their own shortcomings. Quick to laugh at themselves. Not afraid to try new things, even if they might fail at them. In short, they aren’t perfect, but that makes them more lovable, relatable, get-to-knowable. They’re human, and aren’t afraid to show it.
I desperately want to be part of this group, and I think I’ve made huge strides in my journey to get there. During that evolution toward non-perfection, my relationships have deepened, my self-confidence has grown, my stress levels have gone down, and my general mood has become lighter. Life is more fun when you aren’t trying to be perfect.
So back to this project. My vision is to compile a collection of personal stories that give us a peek into imperfection. The goal is to remind readers that everyone struggles or has struggled with something — either big or seemingly small — at some point in his or her life. Navigating through those struggles, though, are where we grow, where we are challenged, where we become more of who we were meant to be. And so it’s time to talk about them — to let the light into those very dark spaces — so others can learn from them and grow from them as well. It’s time to remember that these struggles are often what mold us in the best way. It’s time to start to remind ourselves and each other that, despite what we see in carefully filtered Instagram images or on seemingly perfect Christmas cards, no one’s life is perfect. We all have a “thing” we’re dealing with.
And those “things” — those struggles that make us so very human — are all so intrinsically tied to who we are. They’re worth sharing, because they help us relate to one another. Talking about our struggles helps lessen the shame or the guilt that might be associated with them. By letting them out into the universe, rather than shoving them into some dark corner, we’re freeing ourselves from those “things.”
So, who’d like to join me on this journey toward embracing imperfection? I’m looking for people who are willing to speak with me about a struggle in their lives that they’ve kept hidden to keep others from judging them for it. Something you’ve tucked away because you were afraid it would make you appear less than perfect. This can be an issue you’ve been able to overcome or one you’re currently working through. Feel free to send friends my way, too. I’ll be careful to keep your anonymity intact if needed.
Ready, set, go! (Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)