Never Surrender to Perfectionism

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You have to fight perfectionism.If you’re a perfectionist – if you live with the reality of perfectionism long enough – you’ll realize the only way to win against perfectionism is never to surrender to it. If you surrender to it, you’ll accomplish little, if anything, but, if you fight it every single day, you just might make something. No, it might not be anything good, grand, or perfect, but it will be something, and it could be the very something that someone else needs.

How, though, to fight perfectionism? It sometimes goes to its corner. It stays there and is quiet. You become lulled into a sense of security. You feel safe. You are not, however, safe or secure. You are at your most vulnerable. Your perfectionism has noticed you’ve let down your guard. Its creeping out of its corner and making ready its attack. If you don’t heed its approach, you will be unable to withstand the venomous words that spew from its mouth.

At times, it refuses the corner. It comes at you straight on, and you quail beneath its blows. Yes, yes, you must be a terribly stupid person. Of course nothing you do is good enough. Everything you put your hand to turns to ash. You fall to your knees and gasp for breath, but your perfectionism will have none of it. It kicks you in the solar plexus and sends you sprawling on the floor. You stay still, and, as you do, you come to a realization: perfectionism will not – it cannot – win. You curl into a ball and wait for its next few strikes. At the first break, you roll and spring to a standing position and press your own attack. You may not win this round, but you’re determined to win the fight.

Other days, you circle each other warily. You know your perfectionism is waiting for a chance to lash out at you – a bad day at work, a project that just won’t turn aright. You know the attack is coming at some point. You may not know the precise time, but you have learned to pay attention to your surroundings. On the terrible, no-good, very bad days, you keep yourself at high alert. You know an attack is likely. On the days when the world seems calm and almost happy, you also stay alert. You know your perfectionism. You know how it likes to sabotage things, and you refuse to let it. You won’t give it the room it needs to grow. You’re determined to win, and the only way to win is never to surrender.

Image: Renee Jankowski (CC BY 2.0)

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Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media and the founder of Write Right. She's a copywriter, editor, poet, and artist. You can find Erin on .

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2 comments
KDillabough
KDillabough

Well you know how I feel about perfectionism...it's a self-sabotaging pursuit that can lead to stress, anxiety and sometimes immobilization. Strive to be the best "you" you can be, with full effort and execution. The results will speak for themselves. Cheers! Kaarina

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator

@KDillabough  Agreed, but I think perfectionism tends to be the proverbial thorn in the perfectionist's side. Hence the reminders to keep up the good fight against it.

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