COLUMN : perfectionist vs progressionist

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are you a perfectionist ?
i’m not.

sure i have some perfectionist tendencies, but i prefer seeing it as striving for progression rather than perfection. i’ll never be perfect, no matter how hard i try. i’m not a machine, i’m a natural being. and nature – in all its beauty – is never perfect.

that doesn’t mean i shouldn’t go looking for improvements. i want a life full of giving-a-damn. of trying to learn more, of caring about details. a life full of value to me. not in an stressful, anal way. in a pleasureful, more relaxed way.

i’m also not about improving at everything all at once. some things i let slide for now, to not bite off more than i can chew. for example, having a beautiful, organised home is important to me, but difficult when i don’t actually have a home to organise. so that one has to sit tight for a bit.
i want to have a weekly workout schedule that feels realistic and at the same time proper strengthening. can’t find the time for that right now, so will get back to that one a little later.

calming down, a stable income, a structured life, getting to know berlin more, living in taipei and tokyo for a bit, writing my novel, living more sustainably, making tofu misozuke for the first time … all good things. important to me. but not on today’s agenda.

instead, i prioritise like a pro and choose a couple of things to focus all my energy on. when i’m at a level i’m happy with, i’ll address another part of my life.

this used to stress me out big time – ignoring some improvement-needing aspects of my life in favour of others. now i feel kind of good doing it. this way makes for a less fragmented life. less perfect too. but more fun and clear. easier to handle.

jennymustardperfectionistvsprogressionist1

so here’s what i’m trying to do. i bring all the aspects of life that are important to me up to a certain level. a level where i’m ok with where i’m at. not necessarily happy, but ok. then i choose a few high-priority aspects and get to work. for me right now – the most important aspects are my career and having time for fun. everything else will have to wait.

i’m learning not to care about being good at everything at once. it’s a freeing feeling, being ok with my imperfections. i’m not the most ethical, educated, zen, athletic, minimalistic, well-dressed person out there. nor do i strive to be. i’m good with putting a ‘kind of’ instead of a ‘most’ in front of all those adjectives.

however, the internet is a harsh place sometimes, weird and wondrous as it might be. it often eggs us on in the pursuit of perfection. no cellulites or bad habits allowed. i have to deal with the internet’s expectations of me – of all of us – and remember that i’m just a person. confused and without a clue as persons tend to be.

so if you’re looking for perfection, you’ve come to the wrong place.
i’m a work in progress. and proudly so.

love // jenny

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10 Comments

  1. Loved this article because I can relate so much. It’s more empowering to be a work in progress than be perfect in many ways. I also love to prioritize and focus on only a few things at one given time in order to do my best with those situations. Growth is crucial, perfection is stagnant.

    weirdwonderfulwanderlust.blogspot.com

  2. That’s a great approach. I find myself wanting tor learn too many things at once and after a while I stop doing some of them. Concentrating on 2 to 3 most important things is more productive. For me those things are: sewing, blogging (as much as I am able to) and exercising/moving more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Great advice!

  3. It’s so refreshing to read that being a work in process is a good thing, instead of feeling constantly forced to try your hardest to be a perfect human being without any flaws. I think being progressive is a lot healthier, and also a lot more realistic. I actually also love what Kaili commented ”Growth is crucial, perfection is stagnant”.

  4. Aren’t we all a “work in progress”? I remember having read somewhere that we should really not be called human beings but human becomings instead. I’d say that’s quite a cool prospect. By the way: how’s your German developing?

  5. This definitely resonates with me! I struggle to work on one goal at a time, and end up overwhelmed. Bookmarking to read later.

  6. I can certainly relate. I am at a point in my life to figure out what brings me joy? Having a hard time. Thinking of moving to the United States from Canada. Having a hard time. Thinking of how to fill my days now that I am retired. Having a hard time.

  7. Yes, I can relate. I loveeee babies and children, but I choose not to go that route because this is a scary world to bring them up in. There are so many single parents out here for silly reasons. I want to give back to people by volunteering.

  8. I loved this post! It’s a very important message for me. Perfectionism has caused me a lot of unhappiness. It’s very important to remember that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!

  9. Beautifully uplifting post and relatable I am sure to many people. In a world full of unrealistic expectations and Photoshopped lives on the internet presented as attainable, it is so grounding to remember that a progressionist mindset will get you much closer to where you want to be. As one commenter put in – ‘perfection is stagnant’. It’s important to forget about being perfectly good and to be content with good enough.

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