Perfectionism In Relation to Self-Expression

Last week I wrote about perfectionism and why it has always been a demon in my life. It feeds into my negative-self talk, prevents me from trying things out of the fear that I won’t be good at them, and ultimately disables me from getting very far in recovery.

One of the things nearly every treatment facility I have been to suggests as far as coping skills, is journaling.

Outside of this blog I do not journal.

Why? Because I don’t like to cross words out on paper, because it makes the sheet look messy.

I don’t like that I cannot hit the delete button if something comes out wrong.

I don’t like when my handwriting looks sloppy.

And I just don’t like that my brain sometimes works faster than my hand can write so everything just sounds all wrong and so….imperfect.

I have started journals a million times, and now when I read the few entries I do have they are always so raw and can bring out emotions I probably didn’t and do not want to face, but after receiving the following post, which was generously provided by Mari McCarthy, it almost makes me want to give more private written reflection one more try.

I hope you all enjoy…

Does Perfectionism Stifle Your Self-Expression?

No matter how much of a neat-freak you are, journal writing is a messy practice. For one thing, since it’s for your eyes only, you can cross things out, doodle, write in the margins, and make all manner of illegible tangles. But even if you write neatly and never erase, there will be mess ups in your relation of events, your understanding and level of compassion, your clod-minded thinking yesterday compared to the brilliant clarity you perceive today.

Life is not perfect, and therefore journaling is not either, since life and journaling mirror one another.

Much that we create must be presentable for public view. Since your journal is not subject to this requirement, it is the place where you are most truly, nakedly yourself. If you don’t wish to meet your true self, you may wish to avoid journal writing.

Here’s a little secret: your true self is not perfect. Mine isn’t either. Nobody’s is.

I know, I know, this disgusts and angers you. Or maybe it strikes terror in your heart. Whatever.

There may be perfection in your dreams, in your imaginings, in your highest aspirations. At least I hope there is. We never ever want to stop dreaming of perfection.

But thinking that we as human beings can embody perfection is not smart, because we can’t.

And it is true as well that letting ideas about perfection limit our creativity or productivity is a terrible waste.

You have to get over it. There’s no law that requires perfection from you. Au contraire, we love you for your quirks, for your uniqueness.

So you’ve wrestled with all this in your journal. You spent a long time going over the ways that you demand perfection from yourself and reforming those demands to be more realistic. You’ve sharpened the image of perfection in your conscious dreams; but you understand that everyday living is by nature not so perfect.

In short, you nurture ideals while accepting reality.

* So here’s the punch line: once you’ve been practicing this balance of dreams and reality, you may begin to see the imperfection of your everyday life as a kind of perfection in itself.

You may find yourself ensconced comfortably in a real world dream that works just fine for you as perfection impersonated in the present moment.

You may. Or not. Depending on how much you thirst for it.

But you will definitely come close if you accept the mess and just journal.


A little bit about the author, written by Women On Writing…

“Mari L. McCarthy, journaling therapy specialist and author, owns Create Write Now, a website dedicated to all things journaling. The site includes hundreds of journaling prompts, personal journaling stories, interviews, a blog, and many other resources. Mari publishes many ebooks and e-workbooks to help journalers accomplish amazing things. She also conducts online Challenges, and you won’t want to miss her upcoming Start Journaling and Change Your Life in 7 Days Challenge, June 4-10.”


Have a great, healthy, and happy weekend! 🙂


5 thoughts on “Perfectionism In Relation to Self-Expression

    • Thank you again Mari! I would love to work with you again! Journaling just might be the thing I need to help me with my most personal struggles! Hope you are having a great weekend!

  1. Pingback: Obstacle 76: Perfectionism | CEO Blog

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