Another Lesson in Perfectionism

My battle with perfectionism continues to teach me a thing or two.

Let’s set the scene here…

Yesterday morning, I showed up bright and early at the gym to teach my 5:30 AM BodyPump class. I was super excited to see I had a larger attendance than usual and hoped it was partially a product of my hard work paying off these last several weeks. We were having a fun time when about 2/3 of the way through the class, the front desk lady comes into the group exercise room and starts messing with the sound system. One of my attendees points over to her like she needs my attention. Afraid that it was some sort of emergency, I stopped the music and asked her what was going on. She responded by saying a few of the members were complaining about the music being too loud. I felt TERRIBLE (the instructor is situated behind/under the speakers, so it’s kind of hard to tell how loud it is sometimes), turned the volume down, and continued with my class while feeling super frazzled. I apologized to my class and let them know that it’s kind of difficult to tell how loud it can be sometimes, so I’d appreciate their help with giving me some feedback on it.

After class, there were two main emotions going on:

1) I was really frustrated that the front desk lady barged in on my class right in the middle of a track to tell me the complaint in front of the entire class. (But, that’s not really the point here – not focusing in on this one.)

2) I felt terrible that people were complaining about me and my class. (This is the point we’re going to focus in on for the sake of this post’s topic.)

This whole situation may not seem like that big of a deal, and in actuality, it ISN’T that big of a deal. But, in my little perfectionistic brain, I totally beat myself up about it. I felt discouraged thinking that no one was going to come back to my class, and that the members complaining about the music on the gym floor were never going to try my class, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I suppose both of those things could happen, but that would most likely be the worst case scenario … which is not really THAT bad of a scenario, all things considering.

I came home to my husband and broke out into tears explaining what happened and telling him that I was afraid no one was going to like me now. Ridiculous, I know! Thankfully, as he always does, he gave me some perspective and reminded me that worrying about the whole situation won’t do it any good. I learned that the sound was an issue, I’ll fix it next time, and that’s that. No big deal.

Most importantly, he reminded me that I can’t be perfect. He told me that the whole thing bothered me so much because I didn’t do something perfect, I didn’t please everyone, and I made a mistake. From there he added that it’s OK to mess up and that none of us are perfect. I already know all of this stuff, but a little perspective definitely helps when I’m all worked up.

One of my best friends gave me this quote recently, and it really speaks to my perfectionistic self:


It’s a good reminder that no matter how hard I try, I’ll never be perfect and not everyone is going to like me.

I’ve gotten a LOT better at letting go of perfectionism over the past several years, but I think it’s always something I’ll be working on.

Cheers to being perfectly UNperfect!

Do you struggle with perfectionism?

Who is someone in your life that helps give you a good sense of perspective?

What is a life lesson you’ve recently learned?