Society teaches women from a very young age to always be their best: flawless, agreeable, graceful, perfect. In this never-ending and all-consuming pursuit for perfection, we lose something of ourselves. At some point, many young girls stop playing in the mud for fear of dirtying their dress; we forget how it feels to let ourselves live in the moment. To reclaim ourselves and reject the societal pressure placed on so many women, we must turn to deperfectionism. Deperfection is perfect in that it is not perfect: it isn’t even a real word. Moreover, it implies a process of rejecting perfection, which the idea of imperfection falls short of. For we are not imperfect; we are learning to embrace deperfection. Of course, it is no easy task to unlearn the norms that have been with us since birth, so here are five tips to help “deperfectionize” your life.
1. Try new things
One of the best steps to deperfectionize is to try new things. It can be incredibly difficult to step into a new environment you know nearly nothing about. But that’s okay. It may seem like everyone around you knows exactly what they’re doing, but remember, they too started as beginners. By starting something new and letting yourself be a beginner, you make a conscious decision to let go of perfection. So try new things: learn to dance, weight lift, play an instrument, because it is okay to be bad at things.
2. Grab a buddy!
This tip goes along with the previous one. If you’re feeling nervous about trying a new activity outside of your comfort zone, ask a friend to join you. Having someone you feel comfortable around creates an environment in which you feel safer to push your boundaries. Moreover, doing new things with a friend means that you can keep each other accountable and motivated!
3. Be realistic
Change doesn’t occur overnight. Life is about balance: some days are bad and others are great. With anything you do, set realistic goals that make space for mistakes and growth. You can not expect perfection in every aspect of your life; doing so will only lead to burnout and anxiety. Let the pressure go: you are a human being who is allowed to make mistakes. But do place realistic goals. Do delight in the achievements, big or small, that you’ve made.
4. Focus on meaning
Rather than always focusing on outcomes, focus on how the process made you feel. Was this something that you enjoyed? If so, keep doing it. There will always be something you wish had gone differently, so it won’t help worrying over one tiny detail. Think instead of what you learned, what you enjoyed, and what you didn’t enjoy. In this way, you will find a greater level of fulfillment.
5. Be confident.
Perhaps the most important step: be confident. Even when you maybe feel a bit silly or unsure, be confident. Naturally, everyone, even the most confident people, has their off days, and it’s vital to recognize this. What is important is creating a more positive dialogue. Instead of focusing on your mistakes, congratulate yourself for how far you have come. Be proud of yourself.
With these five tips, you’ll be able to begin “deperfectionizing” your life and focus instead on your growth. Unlearning perfectionist tendencies takes time and does not progress linearly. But it’s worth it because if you’re perfect, then you have nothing to learn, and where’s the fun in that?