The Gift of Being Imperfect

Unhappy Teenage Girl Sitting On Floor Looking At Bathroom Scales

Marilyn Monroe was once quoted saying, “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” Throughout my career, I have worked with many individuals who embrace perfectionism. In fact, they hold on to it so tightly that it is wrapped around their identity and self-worth. This is where a red flag must be held up high in the air. Really, the concept of perfectionism is quite destructive. In fact, within society, a “type A personality” or telling someone they are the “perfect student” might seem like a good thing; but, before we decide that, let’s take a step back at look at it from a different lens.


Perfectionism is tied to feelings self-worth

According to author, Brene Brown, perfectionism is the belief that if we look perfect, live perfectly, act/perform perfectly or say the perfect thing, we are a good person and we will be accepted. Hence, if you have a flaw or shortcoming, you might perceive yourself to be bad or not capable of being accepted. So many of us have created a long list of worthiness prerequisites. For example: “I will be worthy when I lose 20 pounds or I’ll be worthy if everyone thinks I am a perfect parent.”  Do you see how this is dangerous in the fact that your self-worth is contingent upon perfection? The reality of the matter is that we all have flaws and no one is perfect. Just because you make a mistake does not mean that you are a bad person- it only means that you are a person.


Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best

Many of the people I work with share that perfectionism allows them to have high standards for themselves. This is not a problem. In fact, it is great to have high goals and strive your best to get there with non-judgmental acceptance if you don’t totally reach them. We’ve all heard the quote, “reach for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”  The problem is that in my experience, most people who identify as perfectionistic tend to set standards for themselves that are unrealistic with intention.  Hence, it can become a vicious circle of failure and lowered self-esteem.


Perfectionism does not allow room vulnerability

Vulnerability may be the one of the keys to being an authentic person as well as the building meaningful connection. In this case, vulnerability entails: uncertainty, risk, or emotional exposure. The fear of being vulnerable (i.e., not perfect and showing one’s true self) may limit the fullness of life experiences. For instance, this is seen in romantic relationships where someone may be scared to be hurt by their partner. These walls may be an obstacle that get in the way of love, happiness, joy, and connection. With this, perfectionism is truly a barrier to being vulnerable, which might be the core of significant human experiences.


So, it is possible that being imperfect is actually a gift that is wrapped around growth, confidence, love, authenticity, and connection. And thus, the true beauty in life may been seen through the lens of imperfections itself.  Which lens are you looking through?

Written by Danielle Wahl, MA, LPCC


Schedule a FREE Consultation

We believe in an integrative and holistic approach to help you make the changes you want. Contact us now to schedule an appointment or to request a 20 minute free phone consultation. During this session, you will be invited to share your story and ask any questions you may have.

Recent Articles

Image of a thoughtful woman holding her hand in her hair as the sun shines on her. Discover how EMDR therapy in Denver, CO can help you overcome trauma symptoms.

EMDR Therapy: A Path to Healing Trauma

We all carry our share of burdens as part of our lived human experience. We have memories that haunt us, wounds…

Image of a smiling young man sitting at a desk waving at a laptop. If you're struggling to go to in-person therapy, learn how telehealth in Denver, CO can help you!

Healing at a Distance: How Telehealth Therapy Improves Lives

Telehealth therapy is a game changer for us as we live in a high-tech fast-paced world.  All of the increase…

Image of a woman walking through a desert at dusk. Learn to manage your anxiety, ADHD, Autism, and more with neurofeedback therapy in Denver, CO.

Neurofeedback Therapy in Colorado: Transforming Lives

Neurofeedback therapy is an innovative therapy to support mental health and well-being. It is a groundbreaking modality that takes advantage…

Image of an anxious woman sitting on the floor holding her hands to her chest. Discover how neurofeedback for anxiety in Denver, CO can help you cope with your symptoms.

Neurofeedback for Anxiety Relief: How Neurofeedback Therapy Can Help Relieve Your Anxiety Symptoms

Many people live with the ongoing impact of anxiety. Which negatively impacts their physical health and happiness. For kids and teens,…