Sunday, February 28, 2021

Confessions of a Recovering Perfect Girl

February 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Eating Disorders, Featured

“I’m fine.” See also: “Don’t worry about me,” “I’ve got it under control,” and “Everything is okay.”

Those were lies I told on a regular basis when I was a struggling Perfect Girl. I didn’t eat enough because I wanted to be the thinnest. I beat myself up over any grade less than an “A” because I wanted to be smartest. I took care of everyone else except myself.

And no matter how dark things seemed, I never let down my guard because I was embarrassed to clue anyone in to the fact that I was anything other than that polished, together girl I tried so hard to be. Two things I learned in the process: 1.) The quest for perfection is a very lonely road and 2.) It’s pretty darn exhausting.

I don’t think I ever realized that I was lying all those years until I finally figured out what it meant to be honest about my feelings. Instead of “I’m fine,” I tried “I’m overwhelmed.” To my surprise, the world didn’t cave in. Shock of all shocks, I did not melt into a pile of nothingness. In fact, I actually started to feel stronger.

I used to believe that the harder I worked on my Perfect Girl act, the closer I would get to real-life perfection. Of course there was one major flaw in my logic–real-life perfection doesn’t exist (not for real-life humans, anyway). So I’ve officially given up the act. I’ll never be perfect, ho-hum. But you what? I am amazing. Amazing girls and women take risks. We make mistakes and we learn from them. We aren’t paralyzed by our “flaws” and fears. We are powerful and beautiful, and if we put all our amazing qualities together, we can change the world. Yep, optimism is another benefit that comes with kicking the perfection habit!



8 Responses to “Confessions of a Recovering Perfect Girl”
  1. Jen says:

    Ooooh yes, Amazing, that’s what I’m going to be. I am embarking on a mega-workload study/build business 9 months soon and I am overwhelmed but pretty darn excited and hopefully I will be able to juggle things and to learn that sometimes good enough, is good enough!

  2. Dana says:

    As a recovering perfectionist myself, I’ve realized how important it is to hear this message over and over again. Just when I think I’ve left that mindset behind me, the ‘should’s start creeping in and I have to readjust. Thanks!

  3. Heather#2(?) says:

    I have a tattoo on my wrist of three different snowflakes and the word “perfection” underneath. When I went to get it the artist didn’t understand because perfect things aren’t all messy like the snowflakes were. To him, they were orderly and identical and mathematical. To me, perfection is unique to each person and it’s just about being yourself and not what others want you to be. I’m perfect at being me (which includes stretch marks, cellulite and the tendency to let my apartment descend towards chaos and then go on a mass cleaning spree). If anyone else tried to do it better, they wouldn’t actually be me. They’d be their version of me.

    The best part of the tattoo is their is actually an imperfection in the word “perfection” which wasn’t intended but was definitely an unexpected bonus.

    • Heather#2(?) says:

      haha much like that post where I said “their” when I meant “there” in the last sentence

  4. Andrea Owen says:

    Love this post, Claire! I can totally relate. it’s funny, I have my own draft of a blog post of this subject and haven’t published it yet because it’s not “right” yet. I think I need to get over it and just hit the publish button, or write a new “imperfect” one. 🙂 I love the distinctions you write about in “You’re Amazing!” between the Supergirl and the Amazing Girl. Beautifully said.

  5. Susie says:

    This is such an important message. I continue to remind myself that doing what I think I should do does not make me happy.

  6. Very well said! I couldn’t agree more. There is more to life than trying to meet an unrealistic ideal of perfectionism. I battled this for several years. Thankfully I have broken free.


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  1. […] Both of these have led to this post, and my question to you: Why do we, as women, feel compelled to achieve “perfection“? […]

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