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You Don’t Have To Be Perfect

happy black womanYou don’t have to be perfect, in case you are under the assumption you should be. Maybe you just needed someone to tell you that.

Growing up I strove for perfection. I had to be the best. I had to get good grades in school, be involved in lots of activities, have successful friendships. No one put that on me. I put it on myself. And it did a lot of damage to my mental health. Several mental illnesses presented themselves before the age of 18 – one being depression.

Perfection is exhausting. It is a charade. It is a smile when there is an all-consuming abyss inside you.

It took a suicide attempt and falling so far – so far – from who I had been in terms of social status and autonomy and really needing and ACCEPTING the help of others for me to become imperfect. I learned that some days are dark days and I will not be up for a coffee date. I learned I couldn’t deal with all the world was throwing at me – loss of job, medical bills, what to eat for dinner. So I let my family and friends take over. I gave up control. I gave up perfection.

I know the secret now: No one is perfect. Despite appearances, everyone is dealing with their own shit. Do yourself a favor and try this little trick I learned all by myself – strive for authenticity, not perfection. It will change your life.


Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography at

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect

Elaina J. Martin

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APA Reference
Martin, E. (2015). You Don’t Have To Be Perfect. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from


Last updated: 5 Sep 2015
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