How Perfectionism Hinders Our Happiness

TGIF! Thank goodness it’s … almost Friday and thanks to Amanda for making Thursdays that great time to think out loud and let our thoughts run free. If I’m being honest with you …


…  I had a completey different post planned for today. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder for a while and I’ve been excited to share it and hear your opinion. One of those posts that just flow when you sit down to write them out. Or actually they start unfolding in your head way before you even get to write them out. Yes, that kind. It has happed before. Yet I’m sitting here now letting you know I won’t publish it. Why? Because perfectionism took over again.


The same is what has happened whenever I find an employment add for [what sounded to be like] the perfect job for me. I got beyond excited because oh.em.geee it couldn’t get any better. Essentially every family member/friend/you-name-it knew how it was the one and only job I’d ever wanted before the possible future employer got the slightest notice.

Or the mail to that super inspiring person I want to tell how much I appreciate finding their blog and want to ask for some advice. Once more: semi-typed out right already. Even if just in my head.

Do you notice what all of these have in common? I’m excited. I want the outcome [post, application letter, mail] to be perfect. Only: more often than not what happens then is … nothing. I get too anxious to hit publish. In the worst cases I spend so much time revising every last sentence in an application I miss the deadline [okay, this has really only happened once or twice but I’m definitely a close-to-deadline candidate].

Perfectionism doesn’t make us happy.

Perfectionism keeps us from living life freely.

Perfectionism – at worst – makes us less productive and keeps us from reaching our goals and dreams.

In short: Perfection isn’t a surefire recipe for success.


There’s nothing inherently wrong with the desire to ensure quality content and deliver great work. It only become a problem when it keeps you from actively living, being spontaneous and reaching for your dreams.

How bad would it actually be to publish a post that isn’t 100 % flawless? Will one or two sentences that I feel don’t sound convincing enough keep potential future employers from inviting me for a job interview? And won’t a fellow blogger appreciate any kind of positive feedback even if there are a few grammatical errors? Chances are the world won’t stop spinning and our dreams won’t fall apart if not everything we do is entirely perfect. But if we keep editing our posts forever, not sending out those applications or don’t chat up the cute guy because we’re not sure what would be the ‘best’ way to start a conversation – we end up unhappy.


Blogging has actually helped me let loose of perfection on a small scale. Once I do hit publish I close the tab and don’t look at my post again for a while. Yes, I know that’s somewhat strange but it’s the only way that works 😉 . An additional goal of mine for 2015 is to easen up on my need to be perfect further. It hasn’t gotten me anywhere – and it certainly didn’t make me happy.

Now to perfect put the finishing touches on that post I mentioned at the beginning … Next week?! For now, I’ll see it as progress to not edit the heck out of this very post but publish it right away. I live on the wild side, I know …


Happiness-inducing today: A mail from my dad.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living


Tell me about you and perfectionism! Has it ever kept you from actually acting?

Bloggers: Are you the type-a-post and publish kind of person or editing multiple times?

… and anything else you want to add on the topic.

19 thoughts on “How Perfectionism Hinders Our Happiness

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      I’m honoured you felt like sharing it though I’m sorry to hear it’s an issue you’ve been battling, too. Fingers crossed you’ll find a way to let go of it at least partially. We can do it. (:

  1. seidentofu says:

    Hi Miss Polkadot,
    this is kind of serendipitous – I just wrote and planed a post about perfectionism and error-phobia for next week 🙂
    So, I’m most definetly a planner and rewrite the rewriter. My perfectionism is not about having a perfect outcome, more about not making any mistakes.
    And, if you do feel, like your post is not perfect enough, just think about the following: I had a typing error in my blog-header for weeks (!!) I was so ashamed when someone pointed it out (very friendly) – so embarraissing! But in the end, most people didn’t even noticed it and when they did, they probably did not think worse of me.

    Great post 🙂 Gesche

  2. Aja says:

    Perfectionism definitely can do more harm than you think it can. It sounds like it’s a good thing, but it really can be bad. It’s good to let go of it in places where it is stressing you out and making you anxious.

  3. rosyshrimp says:

    Hi 🙂 Love your post! I can soo relate to you. Perfectionism has brought me into some very uncomfortable situations and exhausted me mentally and physically. xo laura

  4. Ms.J says:

    Bada bing bada boom. Basically, what you said – everything is actually reverberating in my head as I nod in agreement. I think its something we have to learn the hard way; ourselves. Actually your previous post on going “cold turkey”? That’s the way it spanned out for me. I have this well-meaning intention of getting around to it in a post someday (life is pretty full right now!) ..I had this image of being this perfect daughter that I believed I needed live up to. In striving to be that, I winded up with anorexia and depression. It is only now, throwing caution to the wind and completely rebelling against “perfectionist” rules in every sphere of life can I say I’m well on my way to breaking free 🙂 . Oh by the way – a lengthy mail is in the works 😉 .

  5. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    My lifelong struggles with perfectionism are actually the main reason behind me choosing ‘DO’ as my One Word for 2015. Waaaaay too often I end up missing out on great opportunities because I spend too much time in my head thinking about how to do them perfectly, and when I realize that I can’t, I just give up. Not okay. I think the only way to beat the perfectionist attitude is to approach it like you would approach any fear — face it. If you don’t think something is perfect, do it anyways. You have nothing to lose by putting it out there, but by not doing something, you automatically lose. I know it’s only a few weeks into 2015, but I’ve definitely noticed a shifting mentality with my One Word attitude. I recommend giving it a shot 🙂

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Well, I have yet to decide on my One Word – hello, perfectionism again because I want to find the one right word. I’m not entirely sure I’m at the point where I can be a ‘DO’ person 100 per cent of the time, though. Can we say it was easier for you now because you’ve had a few more years of working on the issue? (:

  6. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets says:

    I want to read the post you almost hit publish on today. I also say send the letter. If they’re a good friend, they’d overlook a few typos. In fact, sometimes our passion comes out more when we don’t edit the heck out of ourselves. Perfectionism really is just a way to hold ourselves back. Keep on letting it go. I’m rooting for you.

  7. Alex @ True Femme says:

    Such a great post, Miss P! Perfectionism doesn’t make us happy–I couldn’t agree more! I know for me, perfectionism used to be a crutch and a reason to delay my dreams. If I couldn’t do them perfectly, I wasn’t going to do it at all. Last year I got fed up with myself and decided that I was going to go for dreams and focus on enjoying life more than trying to be perfect in all aspects. The freedom is amazing. The liberation is magnificent. Everyone starts somewhere and no one makes it to perfect!

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