Friday, 12 August 2016

What’s so bad about trying to be perfect?

Firstly, let me clear up that the reason I’m writing this is because of my own perfectionist tendencies that I am in the process of journeying through.

Let me also clear up that perfectionism is NOT a desirable trait. Our social media tendencies and consumerist driven culture imply that ‘having it all’ is the goal of life – and that it’s possible full stop! I.e. buy the next thing, get the next job, look a certain way and you’ll be a heck of a lot closer to ‘perfection’.

Here's a perfectly captured image for you to mull over.

Now healthy striving and conscientiousness is great, fantastic, admirable but when we base our esteem and identity on our constant pursuit for achievement, then we’re in trouble!

“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order” – Anne Wilson Shaef

Seem a bit OTT? Let’s explore what perfectionism actually looks like:

Basing your self-esteem on whether you meet the impossibly tough goals/standards you set for yourself that aren’t practically achievable.

Do you see how that is like a self-fulfilling cycle of discontent? Like we’ll never see the top of the ladder…Kinda make sense?

So this may look like unrealistically high self-image standards, work standards, school standards, expectations of other people and/or over-focusing on mistakes and constantly trying to avoid the harsh standards of others, thus, strive for acceptance.

I mean I can see myself appearing at some level in a few of those categories…So what’s the problem with this kind of living?

According to Will Van der Hart and Rob Walker in ‘The Perfectionism Book(*highly recommend*), it consequently affects our feelings (anxiety, depression), bodily sensations (muscle tension, poor sleep…), brain functions (poor concentration, worry, low self-esteem), and behaviours (self-isolating, avoidance, over-exercising, narrow hobbies…)


Don’t panic. It’s a process and a journey.

For now, remember: strive healthily.

I hate to say it, but we're imperfect beings. Made whole through our relationship with God. We weren't made to rely on ourselves. 

"Jesus had come into the imperfection of our lives to demonstrate his power to save: we are delivered from our lives of brokenness because of God's love, not because of our goodness of merit." - Will Van der Hart

I believe I’m likely to have convinced you about ‘what’s so bad about trying to be perfect’…so for now, I’ll leave you with my thoughts. But – I’ll be back soon don’t you worry…

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, 1 August 2016


The masterpiece of our lives and the lives of others around us consists of more than what meets the eye. We live in a society that idolises image and promotes perfection - so we are prone to believe that as a picture paints a thousand words, so does the image we present. Yet what we don't always realise is that this picture itself is not necessarily reality as a whole.

I've had a few people come up to me and say how it seems like I'm having an amazing, incredible time in London - and whilst that's true - it's also been a battle.

Anxiety is something I can't admit to knowing loads about, what I do know is that anxious thoughts have crept into my mind since moving away from what seems safe, secure and sheltered. It's like a wave of uncertainty sweeps through my whole being and captures my mind. It can be silly things like whether I locked my car but can also escalate at times. It makes my brain go into over-drive about different situations and, in turn, it can feel easier to isolate myself instead of facing what seems like a mountain to climb. It's distracting and frustrating. My trigger was definitely the change involved in moving and becoming an actual 'adult' and being responsible for things?!

Despite this, I know that God is good. Being a Christian doesn't wrap you up in bubble wrap and keep you away from all these things - we still fight a battle, we're just not alone in it. I'm trying to take these thoughts captive and assess them against the truth of the word of God. 

Philippians 4:8-9: 'I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse...Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.'

I'm thankful that this is an opportunity to develop a resilient mind, to relate to others and to rest in God. I'm thankful that I know He is strong enough for me to admit my challenges. 

We sometimes paint our lives - in conversation or on social media - as creative, beautiful, inspiring and imaginative. Yet, inseparable with living out this kind of life are experiences of resilience, tenacity, discipline and perseverance. 
The lives that we, and people present are a tapestry of moments, challenges and experiences. It's the same as the story behind a masterpiece involving the skill and technique of the masters hand, his patience, perseverance and endurance, the quality and use of specific materials and his gifted and stewarded imagination and creativity.

We cannot reduce people down to the immediate visual of their life - there is more behind someone's story than what it may seem. 

I'll keep you posted.