Let’s talk | Waiting for Perfection

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How much time in life do you spend waiting? Waiting is an inevitable act. We wait for the train to come, we wait for our coffee at Starbucks, we wait for our colleagues, we wait for our shifts to be over. Sometimes it feels like we are stuck in an endless loop of waiting, constantly putting our lives at halt and waiting for things to be over instead of just living them.
They say that people wait all week for the weekend, all year for summer and all life for happiness and I do believe that this statement is true – at least to some extent. Me being a perfectionist I am striving for one thing in particular: for life to be sorted out, for things to be finally perfect. After I left school I felt quite lost, unsure about my studies and which option was right for me. I also wished to spend some time abroad and well, that certainly required a lot of planning and with it came a huge portion of uncertainty. Between volunteering, working at home and living in the US it finally clicked and I knew what I wanted to do, maybe not with the next 50 years, but at least with the next 5.  So I started applying for university and while doing that I was simultaneously planning my next journey abroad as I had – and of course wanted to – fill the gap between January and the start of uni (in September). No, this actually isn’t a post about my life choices or about finding the right university course, it is about a misleading thought I fully felt for.
Being a perfectionist is hard and the reason for that is obvious: because perfection is simply impossible to achieve. But somehow I was still striving for it as it lies in my nature. I was thinking that once I would have finally applied for uni I would feel liberated in then things would all fall in place and everything would be perfect. Wrong. Yes, I did feel liberated in a way and I was happy that I finally knew my path but then I was nervously awaiting the universities’ replies and some other things happened and I somehow felt like my life wasn’t as perfect as I had expected it to be at the point. The same happened to me when I went travelling – I thought that now that I had everything figured out it would be easy and just a great experience with glitter and unicorns. But of course that never happened because even though I am having an amazing time in the south of France, there were moments where I just wanted to pack my bags and get on the next plane. Especially when one of the families I was supposed to stay cancelled at the last minute. This experience left me feeling frustrated and defeated but with it came a realisation that I wish had come to me a bit sooner: I finally understood that perfection is an illusion, something that is simply unachievable. And frankly, something that is hugely overrated. Even when I thought that now everything was settled and that my life was ‘sorted out’ (that somehow sounds really strange) a simple change of mind altered this plan and I was facing a new challenge.
And guess what? Nothing bad happened, I did not back my bags and went on the flight home. Instead I tried my best to find an alternative and as you might or might not know from my post about Cannes, I did. And when I managed to find another place to work at a thought emerged in my head: maybe, just maybe, imperfection and not having everything sorted out isn’t so bad after all. In the end it also leaves more space for new opportunities and spontaneity. But why do we feel like our lives have to be perfect and neatly laid out? (Please tell me it’s not just me.) Apart from the fact that structure brings a feeling of security I think that social media might be a factor. Because on social media we see a polished version of others and from the outside other people seem so put together, their lives seem to be perfect. I don’t think it’s only that, though. Nowadays most of us are striving towards self-expression and towards living a fulfilled life. And let’s be real, both of these things are incredibly hard to achieve. Just like no one is living a perfect life, no one is feeling 100% fulfilled every day. But it still seems to be the ultimate goal. And with that goal comes an amount of pressure we can’t overlook. Each day, we hear about people reaching what they have always dreamed about, we hear about people having the perfect holiday, we read tips about having the perfect skin and heck, I have even seen tips about having the perfect blog. Reading all of those tips can be amazing and motivational but at times it can also bring us down as our life somehow feels less good compared to someone else’s. And with so much (mostly good) advice floating around the internet it can be a little overwhelming at times. We hardly ever let ourselves just be instead we are searching for ways to better ourselves. And in today’s society we somehow consider that essential. Improvement is great but what if the constant urge to reach perfection leads to us being stuck, unable to fully live?
For me, that certainly happened. While I was striving for the perfectly sorted out life I lost focus and forgot to appreciate what I already had. And in a way, I put my life on halt by constantly trying to make it perfect. And having done that for almost a year I have now come to realise where my mistake lies: I believed that perfection ultimately meant happiness. So in a way I was really waiting all life for happiness. Luckily not ‘all life’ though. In the end perfection is unattainable and happiness does not depend on how perfect your life situation is, it depends on your attitude and if you make the best of a situation. So instead of running after something I will never get I’ll now focus on changing my attitude and on appreciating what is going well and what I already got in life. I want to try to let go of the idea of perfection and just go with the flow and see what happens next in life. Life will never be 100% perfect and that’s alright, we can grow with the challenges that it throws at us, cherish what we got and accept that a completely sorted out life does not exist. And in the end, it’s not about changing our life, it is about changing our attitude. And in there lies the key of happiness, I believe. So instead of continuing to await perfection, it might be wise to accept imperfection instead and make the best of it.
Are you a perfectionist? x
 
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  • Beautiful post Mira I love reading your let's talk series their so inspiring, I am a perfectionist but I am trying to change that and just accept that not everything is perfect and what will be will be. I think social media has a huge part to play in that as we all look to others who we think are living the perfect life and strive to be like them when in reality we should just be grateful for the life we are living. 🙂 xx

    http://my-world-heather.blogspot.co.uk

  • Thank you, Heather, that really means a lot! That is great and I'm sure you will get there, apparently it gets easier with age. 😉 I completely agree, social media is probably the biggest factor as we are constantly comparing ourselves. xx

  • An amazing and such and inspiring post Mira. Thank you! You're so right, perfection doesn't exam and unfortunately we get so caught up in the lives of others who look "perfect" we don't stop to realise that we only see what they want us to see. No one knows what happens behind closed doors. I like to have everything planned out, but yes I do realise sometimes that doesn't always work and something will get in the way, or change the plan.

    Love Hannah xx

    http://www.HannahHawes.com

  • Beautiful words, coming from such an inspiring women. Thanks for sharing these.

    xo,

    http://aikocunanan.com/

  • I love this post. I always feel like I'm waiting for something. My next day off work usually, but I'm trying my best to change that to waiting until the end of my shift and enjoying my evenings instead ha.

    Corinne x
    http://www.skinnedcartree.com

  • Thank you very much, Hannah! Exactly, that is the problem with social media, we only see a polished version of reality or sometimes we don't even see the real version of a person at all. I also love everything planned out but just like you said, it doesn't always work out xx

  • Thank you very much! xx

  • Haha I know that feeling too well! And that's a great start! 😀 xx

  • Such a brilliant and relatable post, to me anyways! I'm a massive perfectionist mainly in my art, but often with figuring out plans – I like to have everything sorted, like where I'm staying, what I'm doing how much it's going to cost and if something goes weird then I go into a state of panic. Travelling has certainly squished that side of my perfectionism at least, as travelling certainly isn't a straight and easy road – one of the best pieces of advice that I ever got given was given to me at the beginning of my travels and that was "no plan is the best plan" and I like to think I stick to that to a certain extent. I still do like to organise things, but I don't like to think TOO far or TOO detailed in advance. Like I may say, I'm going to Melbourne next week but I won't organise everything I'm going to do everyday, I'll just live every day as it comes, and if something changes, then I'll easily and happily swerve around that!

    Personally, I feel as though society has this set standard of what your life should be 'school, uni, work, family, house' or something along those lines and that could be seen as the 'perfect' life, but it's just not for everyone, as everyone's different. I used to think myself weird when I was at home, no boyfriend, crappy job, not going anywhere thinking "god I'm 20 and I'm wasting my life" but looking back, I realise I was stupid to think that. It's never too late to change your attitude anyways. But I agree we all need to start living and stop thinking and worrying as much 🙂

    Katie
    http://www.katiehodgkinson.com

  • What a lovely post! I used to do things my way, especially when I was single and I wanted everything to be perfect. Boy, I was wrong. Just like you said, I was missing so many things, I was wasting so much time and energy, and for what? Now I just take things just like they are. Not everyone is perfect, not everything must be perfect, and that's ok! 🙂

    Yiota
    PinkDaisyLoves

    (can you please delete my previous comment? I don't know what happened but my comment got confused with another comment I was meant to write and combined them together,,,strange…)

  • Yes I get this post so much! I am making a conscious effort to try and live in the now rather than constantly waiting for the things that 'will make me happy' – I need to appreciate more that I am happy now even without those things! I am a perfectionist too though so it's difficult!
    Amy xx
    http://www.callmeamy.co.uk

  • I enjoyed reading every minute of this post. I am a huge perfectionist myself and every work, task or decision I need to do has to be perfect or at least close to it. It's hard to let go of it and I am still not sure how to do it. And yes, it does make our life harder, it does make us more unhappy than happy. I am hoping to start letting go of perfectionism one day and I wish you all the best with yours 🙂

    -Leta | The Nerdy Me

  • Kay

    This was such a lovely, beautifully written post, hun! 🙂 I agree with what you said. I'm not much of a perfectionist myself, or maybe I'm more of a 'selective' perfectionist, haha. As in, I'm only a perfectionist in certain areas of life (such as my blog, for sure!). I do just 'go with the flow' for the most part though, I think. I've learned not to care as much about certain things (especially at work) and for the most part, it's made my life easier. 🙂 Back from my blogging break and just about to catch up with your lovely blog, babe! <3

    Kay
    http://www.shoesandglitter.com/

  • Beautiful post and very inspiring. I remember reading a quote once: Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have. I like to remind myself of this quote whenever I find myself trying to be a perfectionist. It definitely brings me back down to earth 🙂

    Eden | Mint Notion

  • Thank you very much! That is a beautiful quote, I will keep that in mind xx

  • Thanks a lot, that means a lot! Haha being a selective perfectionist sounds really practical, way better than being one 24/7. I can tell that you are a perfectionist when it comes to your blog. 😉 You're right, not taking everything to heart makes life a lot easier, I'm trying to work on it. That's great, I hope you had a good trip. xx

  • Thank you, I'm glad to find someone who can relate to my perfectionism – it is really hard to let go of it and I am also unsure how to do it. But I'm sure we will both get there some day. xx

  • It is really difficult to stop waiting and actually live in the moment but it's worth it – waiting for happiness just doesn't work it but I also can't seem to help it. xx

  • Thank you! That is an amazing attitude, I hope I will get there some day! You are absolutely right, though, perfectionism is a waste of energy xx

  • Thank you, that really means a lot! I can relate to that very well, I also prefer to have everything planned out and I get nervous when it's not working out – but travelling is definitely a great 'training' to let go of perfectionism as it is impossible to plan everything ahead, the weather alone makes that impossible and requires us to be spontaneous. Yes, I completely agree with that! I am sure you will have an amazing time in Melbourne, especially with that attitude in the back of your mind – I would love to read a travel post about Melbourne if you feel like writing one. Haha that actually makes me feel better about myself because I sometimes have similar feelings – I'm also trying to free myself from the 'expectations' of society and just live life my way, I think that's the best we can do. xx

  • This came at such an opportune moment, Mira. I'll admit that I'm a perfectionist, and have made so many choices in the past solely because of that and I found myself more lost than I ever thought I could be.

    Things like studying hard for university, for my exams, practicing for my music exams and everything in between got in the way of me finding happiness and contentment in other things. Because of my striving for perfection, I miss opportunities to make friends, to meet people, to learn to love, and all those I finally learnt after I let go of perfection, because god knows my life is far, far, far from perfect.

    MAY | http://WWW.THEMAYDEN.COM

  • It is great that you learnt to let go and embrace the imperfections of your life, sometimes perfectionism does get in the way of making new experiences and just in general, being happy. I have also based a lot of choices simply on my striving for perfection and I sometimes I wish I hadn't. xx

  • PS: I'm not actually going back to Melbourne, haha! Although I do love it there, it was my first stop on my Australia trip and is by far still my favourite – I was just talking hypothetically :p But yeah, it's not easy to just not care about everything that we want to be perfect, it's not something we can just switch off – good luck though 🙂 x

  • i was just reminding myself to live more in the moment just last night! and then i read this, perfect!
    http://www.thestyletune.com

  • Sometimes I can be a perfectionist freak, but my father has always told me to enjoy every day, when we travel he always tells us to enjoy the ride, and that's true. It's like life, you just sit there wondering when the good stuff will happen, when in reality, the best is happening while you're distracted thinking about other stuff. Lovely post, very inspiring!
    xx
    Ana
    Indie Suns | Bloglovin' | Instagram

  • I'm glad you liked it! xx

  • Exactly that happens when we forget to appreciate the world we are living in and forget to live in the moment. Thank you very much xx

  • wonderful
    NEW POST : THE COLORFUL THOUGHTS

  • Thank you xx

  • A couple things stuck out to me reading this: "But why do we feel like our lives have to be perfect and neatly laid out? (Please tell me it's not just me.)” It’s not just you, I always feel like I need and want this.

    "Reading all of those tips can be amazing and motivational but at times it can also bring us down as our life somehow feels less good compared to someone else’s.” 100%, I so relate with this.

    I feel like recently I have gotten to this place where I try really, really hard, but I'm not hard on myself – imperfection is inevitable and we should accept it happily and freely.

    Raashi
    reflectionswithraa.blogspot.com.au