Tag Archives: lessons

It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect (It Just Has to Be Done)

Say it with me, folks:

It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be done.


It DOESN’T have to be perfect. It just has to be done.

One more time for you, but quite frankly also for me:


Now, I’ll admit this is bold talk for someone who’s allowed their perfectionism procrastination to terribly delay starting the last three assignments of their university degree, but, hey, that’s why I call myself a recovering perfectionist. I still have shit times where I allow these old patterns to temporarily disrupt all the progress I’ve made. BUT that’s why it’s progress. We have to stop fixating on the finality and “achievement” of outcome and, instead, become driven by process.

The “final” outcome for goals like this is a complete illusion. It does not exist.

Don’t give money to the man trying to sell you a unicorn and don’t give energy to this illusion either.

Unlearning 21 years of perfectionism conditioning is not easy. This is a complete rewiring of my brain I’ve been attempting for the past year and some situations, especially moments of stress or anxiety, make it really easy to revert to old, outdated programming.

This is the mantra that I have to keep coming back to to snap myself back out of the perfectionism spiral. And if I find myself still over obsessing, I’ll even shift it to It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be done.

This isn’t because I want to intentionally make bad work. And, more often than not, the “not good” work tends to actually be quality stuff. The only difference is I didn’t completely burn myself out in the process and it probably took me a lot less time to complete it.

It’s not about not trying or putting in minimal effort. It’s about breaking down the mental block that prevents you from putting pen to paper. Or finger to keyboard. Or paint to canvas. I don’t know what you do. Point is, lower the pedestal you’ve put the project on or, heck, even demolish the pedestal completely and I promise your future self will thank you.

Perfectionism Kills Presence

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the looming pressure of time. We are constantly in a state of worry, trying to make things happen faster and “better”. But this makes us cut precious moments short and take shortcuts for things that we may have experienced more joy from the long way around. We are in the business of prioritizing efficiency and output over process and experience.

Why walk for fifteen minutes if the bus takes 9?

Why go to the store when Amazon can deliver it tomorrow?

Why make spaghetti sauce when they sell it by the jar?

Why drive to grandma’s when you can say it in a phone call? An email? A text message?

This desire for efficiency comes from the anxiety that we do not have enough time to spare and the fear that our time could be better spent. And this can creep into our time with loved ones if we’re not careful.

When we adapt a scarcity mindset surrounding our time, we tend to either completely disregard valuable time with others or (and this is where perfectionism becomes a dangerous addition) we put too much pressure on the moment to be spectacular, since we don’t know when we’ll be able to squeeze it into our schedule again.

If you take any lesson away from this website, it’s that setting perfection as your default expectation will always, ALWAYS lead to disappointment and dissatisfaction.

This week, I found myself reverting to perfectionist tendencies of control that, ultimately, set me up for disappointment on multiple occasions. I had finally worked out a time for dinner with my nana and uncle, and because it had taken so many tries, I had a very particular vision for how it would go and how it would make me feel.

Only, the 4pm dinner turned into a 6pm dinner, which turned into 7pm, which turned into cold baked potatoes, and then turned into my uncle no longer hungry. As the time kept getting pushed back, I felt myself getting irritated that the plans were being “ruined” and got increasingly frustrated at the lack of schedule, only to realize that the only thing “ruining” the plans was my sour reaction to it not going the way I’d pictured. My nana kept offering me snacks to tie me over as the time kept being pushed back and (although it probably would’ve eased my hangry state) I stubbornly refused because I had a very particular idea of how dinner was “supposed” to go.

Because I was looking ahead, trying to plan and predict how the evening would go, I lost sight of what joys were occurring in the presence.

This happens, too, when we are enjoying time with someone so much that we start to dread its inevitable end or if we fixate on how something is going while we are doing it.

You probably have a much better time talking to someone (and they probably do as well) when you’re not worried about saying the “right” thing or predicting the next topic. Alas, the cliché “just be yourself” motto has never rung truer.

I’m Glad My Apartment Flooded (part 1 of 2)

I’m glad my apartment flooded. Here’s why.

When I woke up to a shirtless white dude furiously banging on my door in the middle of the night, while his family shuffled around the hallway in their pajamas, I was fairly certain I’d be robbed of my (mostly worthless) possessions and stuffed into my IKEA couch cushions, where my roommate would dramatically discover my remains when she got back from her parents’ house the next morning.

For a second, I considered turning the lights back off and going back to sleep (hopeful that they hadn’t noticed the glow from under the door) or even dangling from our 18th floor balcony as a feeble means of escape.

Instead, I mentally counted to three (to hype myself up) before fearfully cracking open the door (to acquire further clarification on my impending demise).

To my delightful surprise, they were not waking me up to contort my lifeless body into IKEA couch cushion cracks. They were just letting me know there was an obscene amount of water rushing into our apartments!

Ohhh, a flood! Thank god! That’s much better!

As satisfying as this initial relief was, it only lasted a moment before the chaos of smashing bath towels along our baseboards and dramatically rescuing belongings to the safety of our dining table and high bookshelves ensued–not to mention the calling building management, then strata, and then the fire department (when none of the people who should have keys to the offending unit did not have keys to the offending unit) to break down the door with an axe (in an ever so majestic display of masculinity).

The days and months to come were (*and still are! Gotta love the inefficiency of home restoration companies!*) terribly stressful, uncertain, and (yes) messy.

If this had happened at any other time in my life, I’m fairly certain I would have crumbled under the chaos and retreated into a cave of negativity and self-pity. BUT! This was not just any other time; THIS was the Year of Mess and oh boy, did I get what I signed up for…

Perfectionism 101: the good

If you’re reading this, you’re probably in PUB101 (hi!) or a teacher for PUB101 (also hi!). But! There is also the possibility that you (like me) are a perfectionist (or think you might be) and have come to learn! And in that case, I would like to share some casual basics I’ve discovered. Welcome, folks, to Perfectionism 101: an introduction to the good, the bad, and the really bad.

Let’s start off with the good, so I don’t immediately bum you out. The good side of perfectionism is probably what you’re most familiar with if you A) are not a perfectionist or, B) are a (newbie) perfectionist who has yet to experience burnout.

The first burnout, by the way, can either be your villain origin story or wake-up call. But, as I said, let’s start with the good.

The good side of perfectionism is the work ethic and attention to detail. This is one of the ways your perfectionism can serve you well. And the ultimate goal is for your perfectionism to serve you rather than you serving it.

One way (that’s ideal but not always easy) is to think of these “good” aspects of perfectionism as tools that you carry around with you but only use when you need them. This means recognizing your attention to detail as one of your strengths but not letting it be something you cling to as a primary facet of your identity.

Wooo eye for detail! Booo perfectionism!

If you’re like me, this will be part of the larger objective to undo the subconscious linkage between performance and self-worth.

Yes, it feels good to do well.

Yes, you should be proud of yourself when you do well.

No, you are not a shitty person for not always doing something or not always doing it well.

In fact, if you’re really like me, you should also know that you’re not any less worthy of praise, love, success, or kindness as a human if you happen to fuck something up on the first try.

But this, like all other work, is also going to take some time and endurance. So if you are really, really like me, please also know that you should not shame yourself for slipping up at times and reverting back to old habits or mindsets.

That would make you a perfectionist at releasing perfectionism which is completely useless. Trust me, I know.

In summary! Embrace your work ethic; own your eye for detail! BUT start becoming aware of when it is the right time to step back and let something go. Someone told me that filmmakers never finish a movie; they abandon them.

Let’s start there. Give yourself permission to abandon your movie. It’s good enough as it is.

Mourning Your Past – The Lonely Road of Coming Back Home to Yourself

meditate, lake, mood-4882027.jpg

Something that I still struggle with after healing from my first heartbreak and pent-up years of trauma is grieving an old version of my life, identity and mindset that was my reality for half of my adolescent life. I think a lot of the time the reason why people feel the after-effects of a very life-turning event such as a breakup so intensely months or years after thinking they were doing fine is that they weren’t honest with themselves and their healing from the start. Part of this process is understanding, letting go and mourning not only that person but your old life, who you thought you were to them and all the parts of them you intertwined your identity with so closely.

I think I can definitely speak on this open-heartedly as I spent basically all of 2021 grieving. Grieving my old partner, his physical presence as well as his emotional one that played such a dictating role in how I behaved and viewed myself. I grieved the life that we built together with his family which was also my second family, the routine of having him in my life, the meaning that certain days of the week had restaurants near our homes had. I also had to mourn the future that I had imagined with him which was probably the most painful one of it all, mourning something/someone that is tangible and living is one painful thing. Mourning a dream you had, something you centred so much of your ambitions and actions around, a life that you worked so hard for is also another extremely difficult and overlooked process in healing from the departure of a relationship, whether that be romantic or platonic. Through these moments of grief, anger, sadness, the resentment I realized so much of what I was breaking over was this old version of myself I was shedding. A version of myself that was so wide-eyed, naive and childlike when it came to love. Someone that was so trusting and would hold the door open even for the unwanted. I had to let go of my identity as a girlfriend, of a friend to this person, of a future wife, mother – so much uncertainty filled the emptiness that followed me after those years in that relationship.

Oftentimes, when you seek advice for a broken heart one of the first things people tell you is to just move on from that person. But what about moving on from yourself, your old life and who you were with that person? How do you mourn over yourself? I could never answer that question accurately as I am still going through it and it is a lonely but ever-fulfilling journey. I started to embrace change, in fact, I tried to even take control of all these emotional changes in my life and literally build a new identity physically. I dyed my hair colours he will never me pull off, got tattoos he’ll never touch, I even bought new furniture in my room to completely take back everything that was so attached to him and the idea of him and take back my power in solidarity. And yes, physically these things worked but I still felt that deep anger and void. So, what has really helped me is spending time with myself, taking myself out on walks, listening to myself as if I were my own partner when I’m sad. I started hanging out with my parents again, picked up new hobbies in music – doing things that made me feel me. I also started tending to the old version of myself I’ve been letting go of, giving her a proper goodbye by doing certain things now that I should’ve done for myself during that time, such as speaking up about my boundaries, being a good friend and daughter and showing up for myself wholeheartedly no matter how much change is happening around me. It is a lonely journey, but it is so possible once you realize every new version of yourself that you have yet to meet after experiencing something so devastating is waiting to embrace you with open arms and an open heart.