what they don’t tell you about perfect (itty bitty thoughts)

what they don’t tell you about perfect (itty bitty thoughts)

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I spent the majority of my childhood worried about being perfect, and that followed me into adulthood.

Get good grades.

Make good choices.

Now, don’t put drama where there isn’t any. Perfection wasn’t anything put on me by another person, it was something I’d created in my own head.

I was a rule follower. I defaulted to coloring inside the lines because what would people think if I scribbled?

Or didn’t color at all?

In aiming for perfection, it hurts when you miss. So I was a don’t make people mad person. An if people are mad, do what you can to bring back the peace person. A person who sacrificed bits of herself for the good of anyone else in the room who was louder or bigger or important-er.

Because I wanted to keep things perfect-er.

Now, this may come as a “wait, what?” to some of you, because I’m often told now that people appreciate me because I’m so honest and real.

(Which isn’t “perfect” by the world’s definition, because hello, mind your manners, girl. Bite your tongue.)

I’m often told now that people feel they could just sit down at my kitchen table and have a cup of coffee with me any time.

(Which isn’t “perfect”, because hello, aren’t you supposed to clean behind the fridge before people come over?)

So what changed?

Because something did change.

And I feel it’s important to point it out

because lots of people are trapped by the idea of perfection.

And there is something They don’t tell you about perfect.

So if you’re someone who struggles with perfect somewhere in your life,


because this might help you, too.

Here’s what I heard one day 

that changed it for me.

I heard somewhere

(more than a few years back)

that perfection is (sometimes) just another form of narcissism. 

And when I thought about it that way

I realized

that. hurt.

Because. it. was. true.

Because perfection says you believe everyone else is thinking about You

Your choices

Your habits

Your face

Your clothes

Your grades

Your job

Your family

Your everything

And that’s why you have to keep all the balls in the air and wear the right lipstick and make the right choices and keep your smile on tight.

That’s why you have to hide everything else.

Because what will people think?

And They are thinking about You!

Listen, friends.

Let me tell you the thing that finally made me stop holding my breath.

The thing that helped me finally be able to exhale.

If you’re trying to keep all the balls in the air and keep up appearances and keep things perfect-er, ask yourself a very uncomfortable question:

Are you trying to be perfect for all of Them because you think all of Them reserve space in their brains for you?

Here’s the secret.

Lean in close.

They don’t.

They’re not thinking about You.

But Amy, yeah they ARE thinking about Me.

No, they’re not thinking about You. They’re only thinking about you (see the small Y?) in the sense of what you can do for them

Be for them

Represent for them.

Or get them in life.

Ask me how I know.

Listen to me.

Inhale deeply.


stop holding your breath.




get out and live.


be fully you.

 — Amy Dingmann, 10-9-20

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A little something I learned once about "perfection". It hurt to hear, but it changed my life.

12 thoughts on “what they don’t tell you about perfect (itty bitty thoughts)”

    • It can sometimes take a long time to realize something is a lie, especially when you’re hearing the lie all the time.

      There is only one person who can be you. Why give that up? 🙂

  • I strive for perfection, and admitedlly all for the wrong reasons. It’s amazing how hard I’ll kill myself for everything to be just right. It got worse when I left “society” and started homesteading. Homesteading is somewhat against the grain to a lot of people, especially the ones I’m close with. I didn’t want to fail in front of everyone if this life didn’t work out. But, it is working out, and even if it didn’t, does it really matter what “they” think. Nah. So I wanted to tell you, ouch, and thank you. I very much needed this read right now.

  • Yes!!
    I spent most of my 44 yrs trying to be perfect for everyone who I thought was important. Ha! Boy was I stupid…I wasted SO many years trying to be the best oldest sister, daughter, wife, woman. I don’t want to be perfect for anyone. I do want to be true to myself. ❤

  • Love it!
    I took a Facebook “fast”a while back. I realized pretty quickly all these people that I knew, that I THOUGHT thought about me really didn’t. No calls. No texts. No messages. It was humbling and encouraging at the same time. Not to mention physically “isolating” myself an hour away, in the country, from where we used to live. People really tend to reevaluate how much you’re worth to them.
    But it’s all good. Now I can put my energies into other things-things that edify.

  • Your feelings about it’s not You but you… do you remember Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart”? Her theme was this is my hurt, my life, not yours! Your thoughts reminded me of that.

  • Reading this post right after your last one. If you (I) wanna be perfect you (I) only concentrate on the little bad things (and BIG bad things) that do not go as wanted. Control, I allways want/need to be in control. Today I will start by putting up my pink glasses and let go. Enjoy and let go. Look at the good and nice things of the day. I have SO much to be thanfull for. Aint that perfect?
    Have a nice day, Wendy

  • These days, my reply to “How’s it going ?” is simply “Good enough”. I’m doing the best I can. One of the things about the pandemic is that I have had time to get my workmanship to where I want it and I have gotten good enough at it to maintain the level of quality I want without bankrupting my self because I take too much time..

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