Scared to Try: Moving Beyond the Paralysis of Perfectionism

“Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.” ~Isabel Allende

I am a recovering perfectionist.

Up until now, this is the only way I’ve known how to live. The thrilling burn of perfection invaded every aspect of my life to the point that I became paralyzed by fear. If I couldn’t do it right, I didn’t want to do it at all.

When I was younger, I allowed the desire for perfection to control all of my actions. In music, if I couldn’t sit first chair, I didn’t want to play an instrument at all. In sports, if I couldn’t play first singles, I wanted to put the tennis racket down.

All of the choices I made reflected back on what I could do perfectly.

Several things happened.

First, I was never satisfied. Even when I was the best, I was always looking over my shoulder at someone else who wanted my spot. I also doubted my accomplishments and thought, “Anyone could’ve done this.”

Second, my admirable drive to succeed transformed into something ugly. I became paralyzed by fear. If I couldn’t play my scales perfectly, I stopped practicing for fear of hitting a wrong note.

And then the fear turned into anxiety. I fretted about going on auditions because someone who doesn’t know her scales certainly isn’t going to get chosen for first chair. I was stuck between the wanting and the work.

I wanted to be the best, but I didn’t want to work at something that I might not ever achieve. The threat of failure was too much to bear.

As I got older, my perfectionism made me more and more miserable. Reasonable goals that were attainable as a child morphed into more challenging goals that were more difficult to achieve as an adult. My ultimate goal: I wanted the perfect life.

Wanting more, yet full of fear, I continued to eagerly seek the promise of perfection. As if to spite these desires, my world got smaller and smaller. Finally, I stopped taking any action.

If I couldn’t be a best-selling author, I wasn’t going to write a word. If I couldn’t run as fast as the person next to me, I’d get off the treadmill. If I couldn’t decorate my house just like the pictures in glossy magazines, I wouldn’t put anything on the walls.

And it got worse. If I couldn’t have the perfect house, I’d live in a cluttered mess. If I couldn’t be the perfect size, I’d stuff my face. If I couldn’t be the fastest and the best and the most perfect and the brightest and the shiniest and the most beautiful, I just wouldn’t do any of it.

So you see, instead of living comfortably in the middle of perfection and failure, I went completely the other direction. Because my world was black and white—either I was successful in everything that I touched or I was an utter failure. I couldn’t live in the grey space. I couldn’t be happy with my effort—with the thrill of just trying something new.

Finally, I came to the point where there was only one thing that I wanted to do because I knew I could do it perfectly.

What was this magic thing that I could do without any threat of failure?

Walk the dog.

I could walk that dog for a solid fifteen minutes and do everything right. I’d put on that leash, walk up and down the block, give her time to do her business, pick up the business in a baggie, and return home. I was a solid A dog walker.

But boy was I unsatisfied.

I had dreams and passions and hopes and aspirations. But I didn’t dare touch any of those things for fear of failure. I couldn’t bear the sting of defeat.

So I walked and walked and walked that dog. I was neglecting my other interests, which would pop into my mind and quickly get pushed out, but my joyous, tail-wagging, tongue-lolling dog certainly loved every second of it.

And then I learned two life-changing lessons.

My first lesson came from my dog. Just watching her pure joy of life—her contentedness to just be—had a positive effect on me. Instead of focusing on being the best dog on the block, she drank in the sunshine and set her sights on appreciating her surroundings.

That contented dog has taught me more about life that I ever thought possible.

My second lesson came from a day at our town’s street fair. The organizers brought in a rock-climbing wall, and I plopped down near the wall to eat a snack. I watched the kids excitedly scurry to the top and come whizzing back down.

One girl, about ten years old, made her way to the front of the line. She got strapped into a harness and approached the wall.

What came next was painful to watch. She tried climbing the wall and stumbled again and again. One step up, one step down.

She couldn’t grab a foothold, and the other kids waiting their turn started to become anxious. To my amazement, she didn’t seem to notice her detractors. One step up, one step down.

She went on like this—without making an ounce of a progress—for a good ten minutes. By this point, the kids behind her became loud and restless. They wanted her to stop trying—to stop wasting everyone’s time.

But she kept on. One step up, one step down. Watching her perseverance, something I didn’t have at my age and certainly didn’t have at eight years old, made me cry.

I was so proud of this little girl—this stranger who reminded me of the person I wish I had been. Even if I couldn’t be the best, I wish I tried.

Finally, tired and sweaty, she backed away from the wall. Instead of looking defeated, she had a huge smile on her face. She turned around and ran towards her mom.

“Mom,” she cried. “I almost did it! Can I try again later?”

And with those simple words, I was a changed person—a recovering perfectionist.

About Vanessa Coggshall

Vanessa Coggshall is a recovering perfectionist who has set a lofty but attainable goal—to be a writer. Her blog,, focuses on raising her children, one of whom has special needs, while balancing present living.

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  • Ericson Ay Mires

    As a fellow ex-perfectionist, I feel you.

    It’s strange how at a glance perfectionism seems amazing. The unfamiliar might think “you always strive to be the best? Awesome!”

    But they don’t understand what it’s like to have expectations so high that they prevent you from taking any and all action. It’s a major issue when we have goals we want to accomplish.

    Luckily you saw an amazing little girl who understood that failure isn’t your enemy, it’s your friend.

    She knew that progress beats out perfection every time.

  • Notsuchakook

    It’s incredible that this epiphany was discovered by the simplest things. And that is what happens when we look around. I enjoyed reading this because I was also stuck in a pit from the fear or failure. This halted my life for a long period of time. I’m glad I had a chance to read your experience because it didn’t make me feel like a total kook! I really appreciate this & I hope to follow your words & hope I’ll completely recover!

  • James

    Beautiful two stories!

  • Semi-Hippified

    And the ultimate irony? Your article is pretty dang near perfection. Thank you!

  • Shiki

    This article put tears into my eyes. I’m still a perfectionist, though I feel I haven’t actually completely given up yet because I find that I can’t really. I want to be a writer one day too, and it’s really hard living with doubts. I’d like to thank you very very much for writing this article and I hope you have a nice day and will reach your goals. I will remember this article every time I feel like giving up is a good option.

  • Failure and frustration are signs of progress. I repeat that to help myself to not let those experiences get me down. And I work to judge myself on progress, not perfection. Great piece Vanessa!

  • Krystal

    I can totally relate. I am in the process of being a recovering perfectionist. It is super ingrained in every action and thought of action you have…. Trying is key and dogs are the best!

  • Courtney Jones

    I definitely feel you, as I am still a perfectionist. I like to tell myself that I’m lazy, but really I’m just scared to “not be good enough” and not “be the best.” I’m tired of it crippling me and preventing me from doing what I’d love to do and just love life. I really smiled about the lesson learned from your dog. I loved the comment about your dog not wanting to be the best dog on the block, but just enjoy the sunshine and the day. That’s how I’d love to live.

  • Bala

    Sorry if I seem to enter a different note here. Of the many kinds of people in the world, I am aware of 2 right now while reading this. One is the achiever, the perfectionist, highly over-sensitive, always demanding more from themselves and less from others, unless the others come too close to them, in which case they are also held to the same high standards of perfection, which they will likely fail with the eventual breakdown of the relationship. And the other is the social one, not at all sensitive, perhaps good at one or two things or perhaps not, but with a very low bar for achievement. This 2nd type is more successful socially, has ‘friends’, and may be otherwise mediocre in ‘achievements’. What is usual in this group is frequently a total lack of depth.

    So which would you rather be? The goal is happiness of course. I feel it is better to know more and struggle to be happy, than to be bliss in ignorance. It is also a fact that the 2 types frequently attract each other, since each has something that the other absolutely lacks.

    It is also a fact, that this trait of ours, with its origins in our genes and/or our upbringing, is not so easily lost. Though the perfectionist has a much better chance, I believe, at trying to find the balance.

  • Nicola

    What an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing it.

  • Vanessa

    That’s so sweet — thank you!

  • Vanessa

    I love this insight!: It’s strange how at a glance perfectionism seems amazing. The unfamiliar might think “you always strive to be the best? Awesome!”

  • Vanessa

    Thank you so much, Shiki! Your words are so meaningful and inspiring.

  • Vanessa

    Thank you, Nicola!

  • Jen

    I needed this this week! Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Vanessa

    Wonderful insight, Bala. I do find that I am especially sensitive, which I didn’t relate to perfectionism before, but it makes sense!

  • Vanessa

    Thanks Courtney! I’m glad I’m not alone. 🙂

  • Vanessa

    Dogs are the best, Krystal! 🙂

  • Vanessa

    Thanks David! So glad you enjoyed it.

  • Vanessa

    Thank you, James!

  • Vanessa

    Thanks for reading! I’m glad to hear that you can relate to my experience. It makes me feel less alone.

  • Patty

    Thank you for reminding me that I am a perfectionist! I think about it every time I hear my boss say, “Perfect!” I think our quest for perfection is culturally ingrained and totally out of control. This is something I am definitely working on right now.

  • Lori

    Loved that little girl with her big smile. Lit me up all inside just hearing you write about her. I’m positive you have a beautiful writing road ahead. xo

  • tomasz

    Great post. Thank you Vanessa. Greetings from Switzetrland.

  • Lita

    Nice story. I’m often sick because I’m subconsciously a perfectionist. I also like to compare my life with others and tend to see myself as a failure (even though people assure me I’m not,I’ve achieved a lot but I tended to look down.) I’ll try to be just let myself be. And also keep trying without worrying about the result. Also stop comparing, I know it’s easier said than done.

  • Angela Lam Turpin

    Wow! Tears came to my eyes too just reading about that little girl who gave it her best no matter the results of her actions. It’s amazing how much we learn from children when we pay attention.

  • komal

    I am somewhere near this story. I have been making my site for last 7 months, have designed and developed more than 20 designs, after working considerably on them, something in my mind says, this isn’t the best and i leave it. I m not able to finish it yet. I hate this. Other designers who have seen the rejected designs liked them a lot but i dont know why i just don’t choose one and move on….hating it…it is a headache now.

  • komal

    i have same feeling 🙁 so i can understand how this feels

  • Lita

    I hope you’re OK now. It’s hard, isn’t it? We want to be a perfectionist not to be a perfectionist.

  • komal

    yeah 🙂 started to get things out at planned time, even if they are not very best of me, while also trying to do my best in time allotted with promise to not spend more time.

  • Lita

    Oh, I guess those are good techniques.

  • Vanessa

    I can completely relate, Komal. But if other people say they like it, maybe you should trust that they are right? I bet you created something very special already.

  • Vanessa

    I know, Angela! I was so touched by her effort.

  • Vanessa

    Thank you for commenting!

  • Vanessa

    Thank you so much!

  • Vanessa

    That’s a good point. My ears always perk up when I hear the word “perfect.”

  • Vanessa

    Thank you for reading!

  • darkschoolnight

    This is a wonderfully inspiring post! Thank you so much for writing–good to know there are other recovering perfectionists out there!

  • Nick

    Wow, your post really rings true for me. I have wasted so much time and opportunity thinking that if I can’t be the best at it that I won’t even try. It’s such a mental paradox to want to do so much and as a result……do so little (to the point of doing nothing). A mentally painful place to be….especially as you watch the world pass you by. I am totally paralyzed by this fear at the moment at 38. It’s the first time I have come accross others that are experiencing a the same problem. Can I ask you Vanessa, do you still struggle with this or has it totally disappeared?

    Your post is great Vanessa. Thank you

  • John Aldridge

    Being a perfectionist is often a destructive state of mind because it is preventing you from doing many activities: you cannot carry a plan to life because your plan might not be perfect. Well, nothing in the visible world is perfect, no plans can take everything into consideration, hence absolute perfectionism does not really exist. It is better to have a lazy attitude because such an attitude will make you happy for each accomplishment you achieve, no matter how small it is.

  • Gabrielle Stapleton

    Thank you so much for this article I can’t begin to explain how much this resonated with me. It’s extremely comforting to know that others share what I can only describe as a truly debilitating mindset. You’ve described perfectly how perfectionism can encompass every aspect of your life until you’ve nearly forgotten how to live at all, it almost feels easier giving up. Accepting that trial and error, victory and failure is what life is all about.. I’m currently working hard to change my way of thinking, to be as brave as that little girl. That little girl is everything I would like to be, your storytelling has inspired me.

  • EddieB312

    You definitely are not alone. Every word in this article, as well as the comments have resonated with me. The fear of failure has crippled me in so many ways. Thank you for writing this.

  • S

    I don’t know if you’re still monitoring this blog but I couldn’t agree more. Most people have no idea what it’s like. I can take a test, get a 95 and stress over the questions that I got wrong all week long.

    I have some remarkably solid ideas about investing in hard assets and I moved 1500 miles across the country to implement, but I haven’t even started because (get this) I’m not sure where I want my 2,000,000 home to go after I complete my 5-7 year plan, san francisco, or New York . . . Luckily everything became clear when I noticed that my filing system wasn’t in the best of order.

    That’s the secret – In a perfectionists mind total imperfection is the same as perfection because they both count as a completion.

    It also means that everything else in the area has to match that imperfection. It’s not only a fear of getting it wrong – It’s a fear that It won’t be consistent with you’re other attemps **Aha Moment** Try this:

    Before you try and solve any large scale issues focus on quickly eliminating the small scale ones, on paper and in action with completed tasks, checklists and schedules.

    Trust me I know how you feel so I developed a solution that seems dangerous but the alternative is mediocrity, something that a perfectionist simply won’t abide. It’s the act of creating a God Complex through meditation and linear goal-setting:

    1. Give in
    2. Manage a paralysis

    Give in to everything. Practice again and again and again. Manager yourself by restricting your activities to the things that you value and strive to be the absolute best at it. Would you want a brain surgeon that is not the very best? Of course not. What makes him the best is that he doesn’t accept mistakes. **Tip: Brain surgeons operate only with other brain surgeons and trained nurses, Other Perfectionists.

    Use time sheets and checklists to monitor your performance and only train alone until you’ve gotten your skill exactly where it needs to be. During you’re training you have to distance yourself from the mistakes (Knowing this is all apart of understanding your psychology) eliminating your Ego, NOT DEFLATING YOUR EGO, Big difference.

    Eliminating your ego is what a Buddhist monk does: seeing yourself as “nothingness” and the results of your actions as everything.

    Deflating your ego is telling yourself that you’re less than something or someone for ANY reason. In this case the ego is still there, but the effect will make your works quality much worse. This becomes a very bad cycle.


    Anyway: This is what you should chant throughout the day:
    “I am nothing, My (vision/plan/goal/business/etc.) is everything.”

    Very simple, but very effective
    If you can chant this while visualizing whatever it is that you want to accomplish (The physical accomplishment, ie. Business=visualize corporate headquarters) It will immediately trick your psyche into focusing your perfectionism on the goal, and not your perceived shortcomings.

    Once your goal is all powerful (in your mind) you’ll naturally make a connection between your current abilities and where your abilities need to be in order to create your vision/goal/whatever. Then your perfectionism will take over (This is the good part) and demand that you’re best be better without denigrating you as a person. Tricky but true.

    You’re brain won’t say “I need to be ___, and I’m not because I’m naturally awful.” It will say “The leader of ___ needs to be ___, and I’m the only leader who accepts this kind of responsibility. . . so wheres that treadmill” :-). That’s the “Rockefeller Way/Carnegie Key/Gates Method”

    Truthfully most people think in groups which makes them perfectionists too, just another kind. They can’t stomach the idea that they maybe responsible for something in their life that doesn’t go right, then they “hand over” control to the group who has no clue what they’re doing either. This way when things go wrong (Not enough money in the bank, violent society, etc.) they can blame someone or something else because they “trusted” this person to solve this problem. A great example is politics. People hand over control of things that they know they’re responsible for so they can cry wolf if a new promised program didn’t come through for them. It’s a natural human trait that we use to avoid personal condemnation.

    But what if we took responsibility for our own problems? You’d get people who said “yes-I’m afraid of getting it wrong”, then followed it with “so I’d better learn as much about this as I can, then make a decision, I have to be at the top of my game”. What’s the end result? More doctors, less gang members. In our society people are more concerned with being popular than responsible, because popularity shifts responsibility onto the groups consensus. The reason why there’s one leader and many followers is because the leader is often unwilling to lose based on someone else’s opinion.

    We call perfectionists who learn this little secret leader,visionary, genius, master of their realm. We call perfectionists who don’t pick this up . . . perfectionists.

    Try the trick and tell me how it worked out.

  • Jennifer

    I nodded my head throughout this whole post. I am a perfectionist as well trying tor recover but I’m finding that it is harder than it seems even after all the fear from having to be perfect nearly paralyzed me from living my life. Even now, I’m writing this post and rereading it, wanting it to be perfect, so I still have a long way to go, but I take all your words to heart! Thanks!

  • Melly

    You’re only acknowledging one potential outcome of perfectionism, which is not the outcome she’s talking about. In some cases, perfectionists are *not* achievers, because they are too paralyzed to do anything. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be good at one or two things and actually do them than be fantastic at a dozen things but not do them, ever, because I’m not perfect at them. That is what perfectionism looks like for some of us. I used to be seen as a high achiever, because most of what I did (in school) was very nearly perfect. Now I’m seen as a low achiever (which is empirically true), not because my mind-set has changed, but because my world became more challenging. Once I couldn’t be perfect anymore, I just shut down.

    Except for walking the dog. I also am fabulous at that 🙂

  • Melly

    I love this article. And I don’t say that all the time 🙂 It’s very well-written, which helps a great deal (as a former professional writer who had some success before stopping because I wasn’t better than all the other writers I knew). But what I really love is that it describes me better than perhaps any other article I’ve ever read. I’ve only recently begun to understand that perfectionism paralysis is likely what has been behind most of my stunning under-achievements over the last 15 years. I was nodding my head at everything you wrote, but the bit about the dog completely nailed it! Currently, walking my dog is the only thing I do reliably. I am clearly not in recovery yet, but I hope that someday soon, I will be able to say that I am. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  • This article is fantastic. I used to do very similar thing. But it was more because I didn’t believe in myself. After I’ve put some work into my self-esteem everything started to change.

  • KP

    I can’t express to you how much this article has helped me. I cried all the way through it. You are not alone – and neither am I!! I feel ready to move forward. I’m going to. Just – thank you. Thank you.

  • KP

    And I’ve just now been reading all the comments here and am truly saddened AND comforted (??) to know that there are so many people who feel as devastatingly handicapped by this as I do. It is SO HARD getting to the bottom of why we feel this way so that we can change it. When did Life become this way? Is it Leisure? – The leisure that we say we crave but which also gives us an overwhelming tide of choice and time to overanalyze everything? Complicated. Big, virtual hugs to you all!

  • Melea Vera

    Thank you so much for writing this. I’m still very much battling anxiety and perfectionism, and haven’t quite figured out how to manage it. I just started a blog as an outlet, and to try and move past the paralysis of perfectionism by writing what I am feeling, to try and write without deleting the words right after I’ve typed them. I am going to print this article out and pin it up in my room as inspiration. Thank you.

  • Tess

    Your article gave me chills. Thank you.

  • Zoya

    That made me cry.So beautiful.Yeah I’m trying to stop being a perfectionist too which is what actually landed me here.

  • Sanket

    Hi Vanessa, thanks for this article, I always come back to it for inspiration.

  • morgan

    This is what I’m struggling with right now and it’s ruining my life. I need help…and this article is a great first step in at least knowing that I’m not alone and that I can move past this.

  • CJ

    This seriously brought tears to my eyes! Thank you, I think yo u just helped me find me the strength I needed to make some things happen.

  • Tom

    I’m not sure if I’m a perfectionist or its a fear of success or whatever but I have a dream and I can’t get out of my own way to achieve it, what can I do??

  • Thank you so much for your piece, Vanessa. I burst into tears (yeah I really did) when I read to the part about walking the dog because I have had the exact same experience. During a particularly bad bout of anxiety, I could only walk the dog and do nothing else out of fear of failure. And just now before I read your piece, I looked at my dog and felt a twinge of envy that she could just be, while I was paralysed by perfectionism. I was shocked when I read about your observation, and I really feel like I was meant to read this article somehow! It’s only when I’m not conscious of comparison and actually do stuff I enjoy that I don’t have this crippling anxiety. Thanks for reminding me to just be and just enjoy my life 🙂

  • Morris

    After reading this, I feel as if I can love myself again, even if it’s just a little. I’ve frequently been regarded as an underachiever and unreliable by my peers, and that’s because I’ve always set my goals so low, to the point where they match my entire collection. It’s been difficult for me to match my own schedule to other people’s schedules, especially when I feel I might be able to get a high burst of motivation going on for me.

    I’ve spent most of my time living off of games, thinking about how perfect I can be at them, even though I secretly know that all the achievements I earn won’t make it past the server(s) after the countless hours I put in. I’m frequently reminded that I’m doing nothing with my life and that I’m a disappointment, to the point where I’ve started fitting into the mold – being perfect at failing everything.

    I think I shouldn’t just stop at this article. Change begins with me, and so I need to stop waiting for it to engage me. I’ll take the first step now, starting today. It’ll be terrifying to walk out of the safehouse I’ve built for myself all these years, but I know this is what I need.

    Thanks a bunch.

  • dtrip

    My life would have been much more exciting, had I been more adventurous, but because I was afraid I always chose the safe path. Turned out well, but boring. That’s more or less what sums up my life story. Your writing is good, by the way.

  • Sophie May Davies

    This article brought me to tears, a tsunami of tears. It describes what I’m feeling right now in my life perfectly, I hope that I can leave this crippling anxiety behind me one day, as you did. Thank you, this is exactly what I needed to read today

  • Melinda Johnson

    Perfect Article!!! Absolutely Divine!

  • marypoppings

    Great story. I needed to read this today, right now. Thanks

  • Aidan

    Thank you. So inspirational tonight – I have my own 9 yo perfectionist and try to help her see when forgetting some bars of a song isn’t the end of the world, or that it is really worth learning to swim, even when everyone in the class will be younger than her. She’s an academic and creative high-achiever, but on days when she “fails” she is so crushed and seems afraid to keep at it. I think we need to spend more time walking the dog and observing how to care less about the judgement of others, and judge ourselves less harshly too!

  • Michelle

    I am 34, and have lost all of myself. I came across your article and I’m still crying..I am a also as of now a recovering perfectionist. I love your words “Even if I couldn’t be the best, if id just tried”. That summarizes my whole life. I just thought I had a fear of failure or being told No.. I’ve let it literally ruin my life and my childrens life too, I now face eviction because I tried and tried to handle it myself and Failed. I just can’t seem to get out of this hole. I feel alone as if everyone has turned their backs on us. I’ve literally decided 3 months ago that since its a sin to commit suicide, then I’d die naturally by letting myself go..I don’t eat, I can’t sleep but maybe two hours a night. All that consumes me is how I failed my children. I don’t want to die, but I don’t think I can stand to fail my kids anymore.

  • noirfilmgoddess

    I just found this post and can’t stop re-reading it. It’s as if you wrote this about me. Even the part about the dog! Thank you for these thoughts. I hope your recovery is going well. I’m just embarking on the first steps of mine.

  • Noe

    As I read this article I came to the realization that you were describing my life. I had no idea why articles about perfectionism kept coming up while I was searching for ways to try and control my anxiety of trying new things. I was told my entire childhood that I was worthless and would never amount to anything. I always thought my drive to succeed was just my competitive nature to prove them all wrong. Instead of proving them all wrong my fear of failing has become so strong that I now understand that I was so terrified of being a failure that that’s exactly what I have become. Now the hard part will be trying to put the pieces back together and learning to accept that I don’t have to be perfect to be loved, maybe someone can love me for just being ok.

  • Infant Tyrone

    I gave up trying everything and became a dog walker, and after ten years I never had that insight! I should have know, why even try…

  • Lorraine

    What’s going on now Michelle, are things any better?

  • Jazz

    Hi I’m reading everyone’s comments I hope all is well now with you and your kids ! May GOD Almighty continue to bless you guys in his favor .

  • David G Stone

    Such a well written article that i needed to read. Thank you for your wonderful insights.

  • John Diem

    I’ve spent much of my life neglecting areas that needed to be dealt with. Many friends get sick of hearing my endless loops of planning and justifying without making any change. The advice of “why don’t you just do it” has became all too familiar. Logically it makes sense, however I knew there is something deeper going on. I become needy, searching for the secret I need to get started. I try to analyze what is going on, the process I need. I know now that I refuse to take responsibility, trying to find ways for others to make me do what I already wanted to do, because I’m not willing to take full responsibility. I looked for partners to go on the same journey, again, to avoid taking responsibility or possibly share the failure. Because my self worth is tied to perfection. Because if I fail, that would somehow be proof that I am worthless. Sometimes I think that the procrastination of self improvement goals stem from avoiding a higher fear of rejection. If I get in shape and quit smoking then the only reason people won’t want to be with me is because I really am a worthless person. So the secret I’ve been searching for is what this article is about, it’s not about the perfect plan or figuring out what needs to be done. It’s about being OK with me, it’s about doing things because I want to, not to impress others or satisfy some unhealthy expectation I make up in my mind. Welp, I’ve had about enough self awareness as I can take while writing this post.

  • Alec

    I’m so happy to read this article and see so many people have identified with it, as have I. It’s so articulate and I relate to it so much. And Ericson Ay Mires’ comment really speaks to me too. I feel relieved to understand myself a bit more! Thanks

  • Peter Hill


  • Mahjabeen Malik

    that was so comforting to hearthat my issues can be solved ,I just have to stop trying to be perfect.

  • Ms.

    I have this problem. Paralyzed by fear. So paralyzed that I have been doing nothing. That’s why I just started Googling to see if there were any self-help blogs to help me combat this. This is a great article I inspirational and upbeat. I want to move forward with my life. I deserve it. Being paralyzed emotional and mentally is a painful thing. I’m glad I recognized it and now I can take some steps to defeat these feelings and move forward. Thank you.

    It has gotten so bad that I haven’t even been dating! I’ve felt like I have to be perfect in order to have someone. It’s crazy.

  • Ms.

    I wonder if there is some type of name for what we have. I mean a professional name for a “condition”. Is it considered a condition? Maybe not enough people have this for this to be considered one.

  • Ms.

    Let yourself be.

  • Lita


  • Lizzy

    I’m in “recovery.” I don’t think anyone will ever become an “ex-perfectionist.” This kind of trait sticks with you, but with baby steps I’ve begun to start trying again. This article was like reading my own story. Thank you.

  • sophiethefairy

    I really needed to read this. It’s helped me feel a lot better tonight. Thank you 🙂