Reblog: Perfectionism

I found it on the Facebook some times ago. She is an author of famous Eat, pray, love, which I find lukewarm. But I really like what she writes here.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Dear Ones –

My friend Marie Forleo made this image for me, after I appeared the other day on her show, Marie TV, and we spoke about how perfectionism stops people from living their most joyful, curious, and expansive lives.

I meet so many creative souls who are not creating anything, because their perfectionism decided in advance that it would never be good enough…so why bother?

I know a brilliant and celebrated author who hasn’t been able to finish a book in nearly fifteen years, because her perfectionism refuses to allow her to release her own (always great) work.

But perfectionism doesn’t just ruin creativity. Perfectionism is a serial killer; it goes after all good things.

Perfectionism can ruin your marriage, your sex life, your friendships, your relationship with your family members, your relationship with your own poor beautiful tired human body, your relationship with the imperfect world in which we must live, and even your relationship with God. (Here’s what the perfectionist says to God: „You allow suffering and pain and injustice to exist, and therefore you are not perfect, and so you and I are DONE.”)

For me, I’m lucky enough not to suffer from perfectionism in my work (I’ve always described myself as „a discipined half-ass” which is how I’ve been able to write 7 books and let them go into the world, even though they are not perfect.) I’m very happy to let my creativity be messy, weird, exploritory, and unpredictable.

But I do suffer from perfectionism in terms of the standards to which I hold other people and myself. I have perfectionist tendancies in terms of BEHAVIOR. I expect people to be good and decent and self-accountable and reliable and kind and fair…and I expect this of myself, too. When people fail me, or when I fail myself (which is inevitable, for we are all human), I react with brittle anger, judgment, and condemnation. (In fact, I just had an episode of righteous indignation against someone this very week. And I lashed out.)

Which gets us nowhere.

I’m working on it, you guys. Because it’s taken me years to see how my perfectionism around behavior (toward others and toward myself) is a murderer of my own joy, and of my own humanity.

I would say, „I’ll try to do better”, but that sounds a bit perfectionistic, doesn’t it?


Let’s just say: I am learning how to let go of the perfect, in order to embrace the realistic, the beautiful, the messy, the true, and the good.

Because that just seems like a far, far, far happier way to live…

Blessings to you all, and ONWARD,


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