I’m Not Perfect – How About You?

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

I don’t know about you, but I often feel bombarded with advice. Advice for living, for business, for relationships. There are so many great ideas for having a fulfilling life, a successful business, a strong marriage, great kids. So many ways to “do this life right.”

Occasionally I feel like I just can’t keep up. Is it okay if I don’t do everything just right?

I think we all need to do our best each day, and give ourselves the grace to NOT get it all right. Sometimes, just getting through the day and being kind to people is enough to qualify as heroic.

So here are a few things I know I should do, but I don’t always get them right.

1. Empty my inbox each day.

2. Exercise at least five days a week.

3. Think positive.

4. Manage my time well.

5. Avoid procrastination.

Smelling Roses6. Dream big.

7. Spend time every day in prayer, meditation, or some kind of spiritual practice.

8. Take time to stop and smell the roses.

9. Never give up.

10. Always moisturize.

What are some things you know you SHOULD do, but you don’t always get them right?

P.S. I’m not unaware of the irony of this post. 

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46 Comments

  • Lisa says:

    All 10 :)

    I love it. Honestly, I rarely feel like I have it all put together. Being honest about that has actually been totally freeing. I feel like my readers connect to me through that honesty.

    11. Go easy on the ice cream and junior mints!

  • Peter Frahm says:

    I would add, “Make some time for your spouse/significant other.” It makes our writing habits easier to tolerate.

    PS- #10 made me chuckle. Nice post!

  • Rachelle, I’m shocked that you’re not perfect, but I’ll get over it. Excellent list, and (other than moisturizing–I don’t sweat that) filled with stuff that I should do but don’t always get done.
    I did make a resolution to stop procrastinating, but I kept putting it off.
    Thanks for all you do, despite the list of your shortcomings.

  • Good morning, Rachelle. Your list applies to me too. Lisa’s number 11 would be on my list as well, along with “eat less pasta and bread.” And I could list more, but I won’t except: “Stop trying to be perfect.” I grew up in a family where excelling was the norm and so doing something exceptionally well wasn’t good enough. We were supposed to be perfect. All the time. At everything. Failure was not an option and yet I felt I failed constantly because I never did anything perfectly. Even when people around me expressed awe at what I did, I never felt a sense of accomplishment because I could always see flaws in what I did. Finally, at about age 29 or 30, I had the epiphany that perfectionism was a dysfunction, not a virtue. Since we are human and, therefore, inherently flawed, it is both illogical and unreasonable to expect perfection from ourselves. So God gave me the grace to get that–intellectually. Since then, I have been a recovering perfectionist. It is something that I have to work on daily, to remind myself that I can do something well; it doesn’t have to be flawless. This helps me to keep working towards being a better person rather than throwing my hands up in discouragement. Okay, I didn’t exercise as much as I wanted to this week, so I will work towards doing better next week. It also reminds me how much I need God’s grace and that God loves me as I am–flawed. And being highly aware of my own faults, I can have patience with the faults of others (“Let [she] who is without sin cast the first stone”–well that won’t be me!).

    Blessings!

    • Lisa says:

      I love these words, thank you.

    • Yes, Christine. Perfectionism can be crippling. As I homeschool my youngest (she’s a perfectionist), I’m trying to teach her that not making 100% on everything is OKAY. I know she pushes herself enough as it is, and conversely beats herself up if she gets less than an A+. But I know that in life, it’s impossible to do EVERY single THING perfectly. Relationships are messy, and generally far from perfect, but we have to learn to make them work. And there’s always room to grow in Christ. Sometimes it’s frustrating, and I long for that day when we’ll be sinless. But in the meantime, we have to learn how to cope with life. And sounds like you have done JUST that.

  • Jeanne T says:

    Rachelle, I try so hard not to hold myself to standards that are unrealistically high, but it’s tough. I agree with all ten of the items on your list. I’m thankful for the reminder that we all struggle with this sometimes.

    11. I think I’d add show kindness to people, even when they’re unkind.

  • Terrific list, Rachelle! For myself, I would add get more rest, although that probably fits under managing time better. Also, eat more vegetables, which would be so much easier if they tasted like chocolate chip cookies.

  • Susan Haught says:

    Apart from the ones above–WRITE every day! I was ecstatic to read in one of my writing magazines that not every successful writer sits behind the computer every day. With a day job that has me up before humans were meant to crack an eyelid, a crazy schedule, family, and flopping into bed when most humans are just settling into prime time television, there are days when attempting to sit behind my computer would require the stealth and stamina of a Navy Seal. Not gonna happen with this old lady. I carried a heavy-duty amount if guilt in my mental backpack about it until I read that article AND figured out the conversations, character bickering, and delicious scenes playing out in my head every waking hour IS a form of writing. HA! Perfect? Not even close. But it’s okay…the voices in my head said so.

    Thank you, Rachelle, for reinforcing that it’s okay if we aren’t perfect. We all have enough to stress about! Now, back to keeping my boss’s rear out of hot water…and where’d I leave my coffee cup?

  • Mindy says:

    1) Write every day.

    Most days I’m writing something, even if it is not directly related to my WIP. But there are stretches of time when I don’t pick up a pen or sit at a keyboard. I’m consistently stewing over plots, characters, scenes, etc. but not always composing those ideas on to the page. I am trying to get better at this, but I am far from perfect.

    And me too on #10! Winter ages my hands by a good ten years, and yet somehow it always slips my mind to moisturize!

  • Nicely written Rachelle.

    I thought in this digital age we are ALL supposed to be perfect and think according to what the Internet “said?” :)

    You’ve now totally ruined my thought process, because every bit of advice posted on the Internet must be true, and of course correct… right?

    Right?

    LOL, seriously, I think this question you posed is actually worth much deeper thought.

    We can create, track, and manage our digital “persona,” but if we focus too hard on doing that… how much does our regular human “persona” suffer?

    We are certainly NOT perfect… and personally, I’m proud of that. :)

    Great article.

  • Lori says:

    #11 Try not to let the house get too messy so the Department of Health won’t condemn it.

  • Drink more water! So important and so easy to forget.

  • Larry says:

    11. Put away the WIP and go see this “sunlight” thing people keep talking about. :)

  • Angela Mills says:

    Journaling! I have a terrible memory and I like to journal things, especially about my kids, so I don’t forget our wonderful life. I’d like to do a little snippet every day or two.

  • “P.S. I’m not unaware of the irony of this post.” Oh, so refreshing! Like I’ve said before, I love getting my cuppa tea and reading the Books & Such blog posts! One of my favorite times of the day!! Thanks Rachelle.

    My Southern roots dictate a few of my “Should List”…..
    1. Thank you notes MUST be handwritten.
    2. NEVER leave the house without your makeup on and NEVER with wet hair.
    3. Home-baked goodies ONLY for school functions, church potlucks and funerals.
    4. Mind your manners…ALWAYS!
    5. Call your momma once a week.

    I love having the confidence to draw some internal boundaries and know what works for me and my lifestyle. Not that I am opposed to learning or trying new things, or keeping traditions, but I am a better “evaluator” in my older years and have come to peace with what works for me.

    Have a tea-lightful day everyone!!

  • Oh, if I started a list of where I fall short, I’m afraid it would be a very long one, but I thank you for this list because it proves I’m not alone.

    If I had to add one thing it would be: praise my kids at least once a day.

    • Leia Brown says:

      Ooo, Cheryl, that one hit me in the heart! Yes, I need to praise my kids once a day, because one of them is a huge perfectionist (takes after his mom). When I remember to point out what he does right, he thinks less about what he’s done wrong. And why not do that for ourselves as well? It’s a great tool for fighting off the internal condemnation.

  • Sharla Fritz says:

    Everyone says authors should spend more time on social networking so I feel guilty when I don’t do it. But then I feel guilty when I spend too much time on FB and not on writing. Double whammy!

  • Donna Pyle says:

    Perfection is highly overrated. Give me real. Real means relatable. I can get to know real. Real is flossing with a post-it note. I’d like that person. :)

  • Sue Harrison says:

    I love your list, Rachelle! For a long time, I’ve believed that one of the biggest favors we can do for our children is to admit that we’re not perfect. Which allows them a little wiggle room on the road toward their goals. Now I know that as a client, I don’t have to be perfect either, which is very good, because I fall short in a lot of my goals. Especially moisturizing…

  • Sigh!!!! Thank you for this. I think I’ll relax now. As the mother of a special needs child you should see the additional lines added to my list … by people who have NO idea what it is like to have a special needs child. And then you have eighty-five professions telling you THEY have the answer to your child’s ills. I’ve learned in this to choose something and just follow through as best I can. Otherwise I’m just swaying in the wind.
    And then there is the writing stuff … :o)

  • I’m a perfectionist–and am glad of it–but I can let go when I have to. The older I get, the more I have to.

    Somewhere along the way of getting older, I added two sayings to my mental mutterings: One foot in front of the other. Better than it was.

    Whatever is on the list, these two admonitions help me survive the list.

  • P.S. Being a perfectionist doesn’t mean I do thing perfectly. It just means I expect me to try to do them perfectly. :-)

  • See–I missed a letter on that last one! I’m done! :-)

  • Oh, that exercise thing! Yes, it falls by the wayside.

    When perfectionism comes up, it makes me think of Dr. Phil (if I remember correctly) who said that the person who has to have everything perfect, thinks only of himself. Hmmm. So I started looking around. By golly if he didn’t have a point. It was I, I, I, I. I can’t look stupid. I have to be in control. I have to maintain appearances. Really? Actually, maybe you don’t.

    Who says you have to have a perfect life anyway? Who wrote down the rules for it? I’ve given up on a lot of things. Life manages my time very well. (Think the cow prolapsing when you are in the car all dressed up to go to the children’s basketball game.) And all my roses died. But I’m walkin’ and talkin’ so life is perfect. The dishes however, only get done once a day. Such a waste of time! But the one thing I wish I could do more is write letters. Ones on nice stationery that get stamped and go in the mail. I love getting them but so seldom send them out.

    You’re doing fine, Rachelle, encouraging people who write and long to be published. Showering down hope like raindrops spattering on a hot afternoon. How much more perfect can you get?

  • Visit with moms on the playground when I pick my child up from school. Sometimes I ride my bike on and off campus without so much as a ‘howdy do?’. Being introverted has its setbacks, although it does come in handy when I need to hole away and write by my lonesome.

  • Donnie tells me almost everyday that I’m – the perfect pet.

    Do you think he is just shining me on?

  • Two things: 1) Take time for myself. I was raised with the old rule that to have JOY was to put Jesus first, others next, and yourself last. I realized one day that if I didn’t take care of myself, I wouldn’t be any good to anyone else. And with taking care of a disabled husband with 12 diseases, and helping a widowed, 82-year-old sister, I have to stay healthy. 2) To take time for a quiet time each day in the Word. I often excuse myself by saying that all my writing, and my editing and proofreading jobs are all Christian with a lot of Scripture, but I know it isn’t the same.

  • Oh Rachelle, how you speak to my heart!
    I am working on specific three things:

    1) God first
    2) Family second
    3) Job

    All else follows.
    My “Supermum” days are over.
    I miss the toddlers, school children, and teenagers, at and under my feet. Those days flew by just like my mother told me they would.

    I have a daily goal for writing, exercising, and not being so set in stone I miss out on God’s blessings and still small voice.

    My almost eighteen-year-old granddaughter is visiting for two months from the east coast. As a Grandmum, I have learned from the harried Kathy of my younger days. Spend each moment wisely, the hands of time do not turn back, they keep ticking forward…

    Blessings!

  • C.E. Hart says:

    Take my camera with me! And my zoom lens! I often capture beautiful scenes in my mind only–for I left my camera at home. *sigh*

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    I’m with you on the first nine, but number ten is going to be a bit of a challenge to remember.

  • Matt Law says:

    Great advice…. except number 10. Not sure I could live with myself if I made it a practice.

    Matt

  • Ariel Paz says:

    Rachelle, I can so empathize. It seems women especially struggle with this perfectionism thing, trying to live up to some kind of expectation or standard. A lot of it comes from the media about being young, beautiful, rich, and thin having the perfect house, the perfect family and so on. I’ve realized when I put pressure on myself, I also put pressure on others, and who likes that? Does God put pressure on us? No! He accepts us just the way we are. It is up to each of us to find the root of this perfectionism thing, ignore outside influences, realize we are loved perfectly and then love ourselves and others the same way back. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone btw!

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