How Our Skewed Idea of Perfection Kills Empowerment

“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” Ann Wilson Schaef

I am a recovering people-pleasing perfectionist.

I love when other people feel good, and I especially love it when I’ve had something to do with it.

I didn’t realize how damaging people-pleasing was, though. Because you know what? The most people-pleasing we will do is for people who are never happy.

And they’re never happy because they refuse to understand that they are responsible for creating their own joy. They rely on others for that, and when those others cause them anything but joy, hellfire rains down.

People-pleasers are regularly under fire. I know I was. But the fear that I wouldn’t be loved if I didn’t try to please someone was at war with the realization that I couldn’t ever really please someone else. I could add to their pleasure or joy, sure. But I couldn’t be the cause of it.

What compounded this dilemma were my perfectionistic tendencies. Not only did I want to please those whose love I was afraid to lose, I felt I had to be *perfect* at it all the time. I had myself one hell of a bonfire going.

Something struck me, though. Nothing is ever perfect because nothing is ever done.

There may be a moment in time when you take a mental snapshot and say “oh my, this moment is amazing/superb/wondrous/magnificent.”

But in the next instant, it’s changed. Because everything is constantly in flux.

You may not be able to tell that it has changed right away because we keep creating what we focus on.

But it has begun to change, at the very least.

So our understanding of perfection isn’t even a thing. It’s not even real.

A better definition of perfection is that it is merely our interpretation of the magnificence of a moment.

It’s the word we need to use for our interpretation of the magnificence of a moment.

When we try to use the wrong definition of perfection as a measuring stick, we will always fall short.

I did. I fell short every time.

Then I would feel defeated, as if I would never be in a place to NOT fall short.

How, though, can you fall short of interpreting the magnificence of a moment? You can’t. It’s relative. And personal. And it forces you to go within, rather than focus outward.

When we remember that we have the power to interpret the magnificence of any moment we stay aligned with the empowered mindset that allows us to create the beauty in which we seek to live.

When I was believing that I had to please someone else in order to be loved, and on top of that, be perfect it about it all the time, I was killing my own empowered mindset.

The one I have worked so lovingly and diligently to create and maintain.

It was insanity. And thankfully, it’s over.

Our skewed idea that we should be perfect in the toxic sense of the word, especially on someone else’s timetable, kills empowerment. Forget people-pleasing. Forget the outdated version of perfection. Stay empowered.

With love,


This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.