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Arielle's Word of the Day #13: PERFECT

Posted Jun 13 2012 12:00am


Well, you knew this word would be in this blogger challenge somewhere, didn't you? :-) It's a word we really need to wrap our heads around, really consider and put into perspective, really dissect and understand.


So many people, eating disordered or not, are just so engrossed with the topic of perfection and imperfection. It can really become an obsession, whether it’s body image related, beauty related, achievement related, identity related, or beyond. There are so many things you can find about which to become obsessed where flaws are concerned… but it takes away from living life.

Not only does everyone have imperfections, but everyone has problems, issues, hardships… If you feel that you’re the only one, that’s where you’re going to run into that fear of being imperfect. You can learn to embrace your imperfections if you don’t think of them as imperfections. “Imperfections” sounds like such an ugly word and sometimes just the stereotypes or the stigma around a word can really change our perception about it.

So how do you come to terms with not being perfect? Honestly, it can take a while.  But letting go of this “having to be perfect” attitude will really, really benefit you. You have to stick with it, because the question–at the heart–is “how do I come to terms with not being perfect?” The only way to not be overwhelmed by perfectionism is to accept our imperfections and realize FULLY that no one is perfect. No one. And our imperfections don’t have to be something NEGATIVE.

Nobody’s perfect, and I know that’s such a typical, cliched statement, but it’s so true. Nobody is perfect. Perfect does not exist. (Yep, you heard me.) And imperfections are so much more beautiful than perfection is. (Okay, now you’re thinking I’m crazy… but it’s true! I really believe this!) In order to come to terms with not being perfect, you have to really embrace the good qualities you have. You have to really learn to love all the good things about yourself. And once you’ve done that (which even THAT can take a while), then you have to start to embrace your flaws. (Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? But hear me out…)

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t continually be trying to make yourself a better person; I think that’s something that may of us strive for in our lives. I mean, we know that we’re not so great at something…or we know that we could change our attitudes about something… and we want to make ourselves better… and that’s very good and very commendable…AS LONG AS THE GOAL, ultimately, IS NOT PERFECTION.

Perfection is not achievable, so essentially, you’re setting yourself up for failure from the get-go.
You need to let go of that whole perfection thing. Perfection is a fallacy. Next, you must learn to accept your own imperfections as normal…because they ARE normal. And I’ll tell you why. No matter how alone you might feel about a certain flaw or imperfection that you have, you’re NOT alone. Just think how lonely it is to have an eating disorder. And think how alone you felt at certain points throughout your struggle…or even how alone you still do feel. But are you alone?

I mean, I wrote this post for a slew of readers. I make weekly videos for thousands of subscribers for which the sole topic is eating disorder recovery. And that’s just a tiny microcosm of the world. There are A LOT of people with eating disorders out there. And even though at one time or another they might feel alone because they have eating disorders, they are not. You have to remind yourself, whatever your struggle: YOU’RE NOT ALONE.

Put the same strategy towards perfectionism. Use logic. Whatever your imperfection might be (today, tomorrow, 5 minutes from now), whether it’s about a body part, being too big, too small, too this, too that, somebody else out there (and most likely, MANY, MANY other people) have that same imperfection.
And to be quite honest with you, who’s to say it’s an imperfection? I mean, especially if lots of people have it. And maybe, if by some major miracle, you are in fact the ONLY person who has that particular imperfection…isn’t that more special? More unique? Think about it.

I know that not all imperfections people worry over have to do with the body. Maybe you wish you were smarter, prettier, more creative…the list can go on and on. And chances are if you really sat there and thought about all the things you wanted to change about yourself, you might have a pretty long list. But again, remember: Everybody out there has SOMETHING they don’t like about themselves. Everybody out there has an imperfection, or many.

You have to tell yourself to cut the crap sometimes. And just stand there in front of the mirror and say to yourself (sternly): “I’m not perfect…but I’m great just the way I am.”

From one (recovered) perfectionist (haha) to another, the role of perfectionism in eating disorders, body image, and beyond can be huge, but you can accept and grow, and soon your imperfections won’t seem like a bad thing. Or even a “thing” at all.
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