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You Don’t Have to Do Everything Perfectly


One of my biggest struggles is the fact that I feel like I have to do everything just right. There’s some small part of me that kind of panics if I don’t do things correctly, or the way I imagine they should be done.

The biggest area of my life where this takes place is social interaction but I think this idea can benefit other areas of your life as well. When I’m faced with being social whether it’s a date with a cute girl or simply greeting the pizza delivery man at the door, I am in a constant stream of analysis about how I’m performing socially.

If there are awkward moments or instances where we don’t get each other’s jokes or don’t understand each other’s references or anything like that there’s a little part of me that freaks.

This happened just yesterday when I was sitting at a coffee shop and I saw a friend from high school. I would say a jokey thing and she wouldn’t get that I was making a joke or she would say something big like the fact that she broke up with her boyfriend and I felt like I didn’t give the right reaction. Suffice it to say, it was awkward.

I spent the rest of the evening worrying about the conversation and wondering what I could have done differently.

It only came to me later that it was ok if the interaction didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked. It was ok that I didn’t perform perfectly in that social situation.

I think a lot can be said for the idea of accepting imperfection. If we spend our time worrying about what we didn’t do right in a given situation or what we could’ve done differently, we may as well drive ourselves crazy.

The truth of it is, life is a scattered messy series of events and tasks and it’s essentially impossible to do everything perfectly one hundred percent of the time.

I don’t know if it’s some insecurity from childhood or something, I’m not here to speculate about people’s histories, I just know that many, many people feel this compulsion to do things perfectly.

There’s this fear I think that if we don’t do something right it will open us up to a vulnerability or some defect that is now on display to the world. The fear is that if we show a weakness or a vulnerability, the world will ridicule us or take advantage of us.

It’s a sorry state of affairs that that thinking even has to be present, but it’s a fact that the world can burn us sometimes. That’s just the way things are.

I think a big step in being comfortable with yourself and the world around you is learning to accept and learning to be ok with our weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

If you have something you’re worried about or something you keep analyzing and turning over in your head try simply saying the words, “I accept this.” Say it however many times you have to to wrap your mind around the fact that it’s ok that it happened and it’s not that big of a deal.

Accepting imperfection frees you up to feel comfortable without worrying so profusely about the little things.

It’s a big help, and I have to remind myself of it a lot.

It’s worth it though.

You Don’t Have to Do Everything Perfectly

Michael Hedrick

Mike Hedrick is a writer and photographer in Boulder, CO. He has lived with schizophrenia for many years and his work has been published in Salon, Scientific American and The New York Times. His book is available here You can follow his blog on living with schizophrenia here

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APA Reference
Hedrick, M. (2018). You Don’t Have to Do Everything Perfectly. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 26 Sep 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.