Give Yourself a Break: Dealing with Perfectionism

by Shavonta Arline, Contributing Writer


I have a confession to make: I like things to be done the right way most of the time. Well…really I don’t just like them done the right way, I want them done the perfect way…the perfect “Shavonta” way that is. That’s right, I’m a bit a perfectionist, but I’m not exactly proud about it. Although it doesn’t sound like a bad word, perfectionism has crept into my life- and relationships at times- and left them looking like a hurricane came through: total damage. You see perfectionism is rooted in a need to control everything and experience a sense of affirmation based on what we are able to accomplish. Simply put, it can ruin us if left unchecked.

Below are a few tips to help you cope if you struggle with perfectionism or love and work with a perfectionist.

If you are a perfectionist…

index1. Chill out: Although it would be wonderful to accomplish everything on your to do list and flawlessly execute a plan you’ve been working on for months, sometimes we just miss the mark. It’s understandably disappointing to experience failure, but it’s also very important to realize that it’s not the end of the world. Cut yourself some slack sometimes.

2. Don’t Judge: Perfectionists have a tendency to have a harsh perception of those who have not adopted their rigid habits and outlook on life. But it’s important to keep in mind that although others may not do things the way you do, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Everyone has a set of gifts and talents to bring into a project or relationship. Don’t try to force others to meet a set of standards that even you cannot measure up to all the time. Doing so will only create unnecessary tension, resentment from the people you are trying to control and may leave you solo. Measuring up to your expectation stick may not be what’s hot to others. Let folks be who they are.

If you’re trying to cope with a perfectionist…

Have a little patience with them. 🙂

1. Don’t take it personally: If you have a rather laid back, go-with-the-flow type of disposition on life, linking up with a perfectionist personally or professionally can be a less than ideal arrangement- until you all can find a balance. Your personality may come across as lazy and unorganized while theirs may seem to be overbearing and critical. Know when to let things roll off your back, when to speak up and most importantly when to roll out! Always keep an attitude of dignity and esteem about yourself.

2. Take Note When Necessary: So you may not have color coded tabbed binder to organize every aspect of your life, or a systematic procedure for lining up the spices in your cabinet, but there’s a pretty decent chance that the perfectionist in your life has some worthy habits you could learn from. If perfectionists are nothing else, they are calculated and well-thought. This means that they have likely spent a considerable time planning exactly how each tedious chore and process they engage in will be helpful to them at some point in the future. When you see something they’ve done that you like, don’t be too proud to give them kudos and adopt it for your own!

There is nothing wrong with wanting to work and live with a spirit of excellence fuelling all that you do. After all, high standards are often what motivate us to achieve. But it is imperative to grasp that nothing in life is perfect, including you. It is also important to understand that if you can’t enjoy and celebrate the journey, struggle, success and failure without attaching it to your sense of worth; you have some inside work that needs to be done.

Today embrace your perfect imperfections!

God bless.

4 thoughts on “Give Yourself a Break: Dealing with Perfectionism

  1. Reblogged this on arielledixon and commented:
    There are plenty of times that I find myself putting myself under great stress to achieve perfectionism. Although I still aim to always present top-notch work, I must remind myself from time to time that not EVERYTHING always goes according to plan. There are times that I should sit back, let the cards fall as they may and be ready to roll with the punches. This blog post was one that gives tips to not only help the perfectionist but also anyone who has to deal with their crazy antics!

    Great write-up by Shavonta Arline, but what else do you expect from the folks over at Friends of Ebonie!


  2. Mrs. Arline,

    I enjoyed this writing very much. I have said some of these exact statements to myself, on multiple occasions. In particular, the statement, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat,” is classic me! Lol.

    I’m still working on how to deal with my “gift of perfectionism,” if you will. Honestly, I’m only a perfectionist when it comes to things that are directly related to me and my craftsmanship. Being a school choir director, I feel as though my choir must be perfect. “If it has my name on it, it won’t be no mess,” is something I’ve said before. While I do mean that, I feel as though it puts unnecessary pressure on the students, as well as on myself. I want the students to do well, but there has to be a better way.

    Blah, blah, blah…..

    The point is that I have to remember: Lighten up; you’re better than you give yourself credit for.

    Love & Peace.


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