Perfection is hard on our mental health

As hard as I try to hold myself to high standards, I’ve discovered I’m not a machine. I still look in the mirror and find a human being looking back at me, with all of my flaws, faults and positives as well.

Sometimes I expect so much from myself, when I make a mistake or say something wrong I ruminate over it. I’m terribly hard on myself, especially when I make mistakes or hurt someone’s feelings. Perfection, as we all know, is impossible. Yet, it’s something I’ve had to fight through most of my life.

A lot of people I’m sure can relate to what it’s like to strive for perfection. When you’re an Olympic athlete, high standards, drive, determination and – yes – sometimes even perfection helps us land on the world stage.

Then, the game is over and real life begins.

I’ve spent much time and resources in therapy over the years learning how to not ruminate over mistakes and learn how to give myself a break. I practice forgiveness of self and others. When I make mistakes I try to learn from it and quickly pick up the pieces and move forward.

Every now and then I hit a bump in the road. My healthy coping strategies go out the window and I land myself back into the swirl of playing the mistakes over and over and over again. Why did I do that? Why did I say that? How could I have done this better?


What I have learned is – there is really a tremendous amount of freedom in owning our truths. I own my perfectionism. I let it play out a little. I give myself a break. I learn from my mistakes. I might get frustrated. I might cry (much more rare for me). I shake my head. I smile. I laugh at myself.

And then…

I move on.

Because I have learned over the years if we hold on to perfection for too long and let it rule our lives, it will really take a dent in our mental health. It can trigger obsessive thinking, interupt sleep with thoughts that won’t stop and the list is goes on and on.

I’m very quick to forgive other people when they have wronged me. I’m learning it’s okay to quickly forgive myself too.

Here’s to recognizing our human imperfection! It’s okay not to be perfect. 🙂

Amy Gamble



10 thoughts on “Perfection is hard on our mental health

  1. I have struggled trying too hard to be perfect, a goal thats never going to happen! Because we are human and we are all different. I can be my own worse critic or I can be my own bestfriend. Life is good be yourself.

  2. There was only one perfect person to walk the earth. I know your hard on yourself, it’s a fine line between to hard and good work ethic. Make sure you take time for self care, I’ve started reading again. It’s such a treat to take some time to read a couple of chapters and refreash. I’m always here for you. M

  3. Thank you for your words of wisdom! Life can get so overwhelming at times! Learning to lighten up, laugh at yourself is a wonderful feeling!

    1. My oops moments are perhaps the ones I laugh at most. Knew better…did it anyhow. Thanks for your comment. I prefer low tide but sometimes that darn high tide sneaks up on me. 😀

  4. Trying to do the right thing holding oneself to high standards is not humanly possible even when we try we have struggles and failures a Scripture comes to mind when I feel discouraged a quote from King David from Psalms that keeps me going is David encouraged himself in the Lord his God

  5. So true Amy.
    I am such a perfectionist, I have had to learn to suppress it. Things like not worrying about things that really I have no control to change.
    Just roll with the punches keeps me stable in my mental health.

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