you’re perfect, now change

Yesterday, one of my best friends sent me an image that literally brought me to tears:

perfection

Beautiful, right?

I don’t know how she does it but Tiffany always seems to know what I need to hear and when I need to hear it. She’s been a huge source of stability and support for me over the past few months and I can’t thank her enough for that. Having good friends really does make the world a better place.

Anyways, back to that quote…

Perfectionism is something that I’ve dealt with for the majority my entire life. For as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with doing things “right” and being the “best”. Ironically, it was considered a positive trait when I was growing up and didn’t start backfiring until a few years ago.

Discovering that perfection doesn’t exist has been a long and difficult journey for me. I spent years living with the mindset that, if I followed the rules and excelled at everything I did, my life would pan out exactly how I wanted it to. Obviously, that’s not the case and it left me constantly searching for validation that didn’t exist. It was exhausting and eventually I just couldn’t do it anymore.

The majority of my obsession was manifested in my dreams of becoming an actress. In the midst of my determination to find success, I completely lost any sense of why I was doing it and whether or not it was even what I wanted. Instead of pursuing an acting career because I loved the art form, I was merely doing it to find validation in ‘winning’ and being ‘successful’. I was changing myself on a weekly basis in an effort to fill in the gaps and morph into whatever this industry needed me to be. I took and re-took my headshots, cut and colored my hair multiple times, lost weight, gained weight, took classes, found new representation, networked with the “right” people, and drove myself into the ground by letting the world around me dictate who I needed to be. Sounds miserable, right? It was.

At the start of 2013 I finally reached my breaking point. Things within my family began to fall apart (which is another topic entirely) and I was faced with the harsh reality that there are certain parts of life I’ll never be able to control. It hasn’t been easy but I’ve finally begun to accept that. While I’ve spent years and years trying to create my “perfect reality” I’ve let so many experiences pass me by. I’ve lost friends, turned down opportunities, and missed out on making memories because they didn’t fit into my schedule and didn’t directly benefit my ‘plan’. It kills me to look back on that and I often wish I could do it all over again with the knowledge I have now. But, I can’t. I can only move forward.

So, that’s what I’m doing. I’m apologizing to all of the people I love for the distant, obsessive person I became. I’m throwing away the predetermined future I had mapped out for myself. I’m rediscovering the carefree, happy-go-lucky girl that I once was. I’m finally embracing myself for exactly who I am rather than who I think the world expects me to be. And, most importantly, I’m letting go. 

Am I going to stop working hard and aiming for success? Of course not. That will always be a part of who I am. But, instead of obsessing over the results, I’m going to enjoy the ride. I’m just going to live.

I know this post was lengthy so, if you spaced out half-way through, I don’t blame you. I have to admit, I feel slightly anxious about opening up about something so personal but my hope is that a few of you will be able to relate to this and benefit from the things I’ve learned. And, if you’re my friend in real life, let this post serve as an explanation and an apology for why I disappeared. Emily is back.

I have no idea what tomorrow holds and, for the first time, I’m okay with that. I’m focusing on finding happiness in the little things, building and nurturing relationships, getting financially stable, and becoming the person I was meant to be all along. It’s time to smile like it’s going out of style.

NYC1

Plus, I’m in my 20’s, it’s practically a law that I should be out there having fun, right?

Here’s to imperfect bliss…

-Emily

26 comments
  1. Preach.

    I feel like our generation isn’t dictated by expectations anymore. We’ve decided, “to hell with what we’re SUPPOSED to be doing, let’s do what we want, and LOVE it all instead.” We’ve decided that happiness isn’t the family of four, the minivan, the white fence, and the manicured lawns. We’ve come to the realization that happiness isn’t what you have, but what you’re DOING.

    Here’s to our 20’s ladybug! 🙂

    xx

    • Emily said:

      SO true!
      Here’s to making the most of these years!

  2. Ellie said:

    Girl thank you so much for this post! I just blogged about a rant I had with my dad where he invited me to dinner and I said no…blah blah blah…I then stopped, relaxed, prayed and am now going with him. The changes I have made recently were for purposes like this. I wanted to change my lifestyle and rigidity so I could be a more normal daughter and fun person. I didn’t want to go out with my dad simply because I had a routine of comfort I was set in and enjoy my easy nights. However, when I decided a month or so ago to make changes, one of the reasons I did this was so I could go out with friends and family and not have to stick to my schedule! So I didn’t know this invite was coming, so I wasn’t able to plan my day perfectly around it. At first I freaked out, but after rationally thinking, this is what I want to do! Why am I denying myself the pleasure of getting together with loved ones just so I have my usual easy night. You know what?! I’m not going to let my desire for order and, in your words, perfection dictate my life. I am going out with my dad for this is what ELLIE wants 🙂

    Here’s to US!

    • Emily said:

      AHHH- YES!
      This comment just made my day. SO proud of you. That’s what freedom and happiness are all about. Doing what you want to do and not letting some silly routine get in your way. It may not be the most comfortable thing but it will always be worth it. ❤

  3. Taylor said:

    This post resinates with me so much..I feel as though if you were once viewed as someone who is a perfectionist that it’s hard to escape that stereotype making everything you do having to live up to that. It is exhausting and I hope to let go and live on a whim one day..sometime all you need is a little spontaneity to shake things up! Thanks for opening up and sharing this!

    • Emily said:

      “Exhausting” is the perfect way to put it! It’s like having a weight on your shoulders that just won’t go away.
      I’m really happy this post resonated with you!

  4. P said:

    I have always been a perfectionist and it wasn’t until college that I realized even with set plans and even if I worked really hard, not everything would turn out the way I dreamed it to be. I tried various ways to cope (some good, some bad) but I think that if we perfectionists can learn to accept life for what it is and just be happy with whatever we can do, we can attain our own form of (healthy) perfection 🙂

    • Emily said:

      SO true. I’m glad you’ve started to come to this realization too. It’s not easy but it definitely makes life more enjoyable. ❤

  5. Am I going to stop working hard and aiming for success? Of course not. That will always be a part of who I am. But, instead of obsessing over the results, I’m going to enjoy the ride. I’m just going to live.
    yeesssss 🙂
    youre so wise for your age 🙂 keep doing what youre doing!

    • Emily said:

      Aw- thank you! You are too! Thank you for all of your support and sweet comments. (:

  6. loved this post. I need a friend like tiffany. we obsess over things we can’t change sometimes. we have to remember … we are only human. ❤

    • Emily said:

      She’s amazing. ❤
      And that's exaaactly it! Humans are imperfect by nature- we need to remember that!

  7. Lisa said:

    Great post my friend!
    I’ve been a majoooor perfectionist. It’s been helpful at times, yet it’s also been destructive at times. A double endged sword if you would.
    I’m slowly leaving the negative effects this leaves me with, but it’s tough work to overcome behaviors I’m so accustomed to now!
    Love this.

    • Emily said:

      I completely agree- it’s a blessing and a curse! But ridding ourselves of the burden of needing perfection feels amazing. It doesn’t mean we won’t work hard, we just won’t obsess over the results. (:

  8. Such a great realization girl! And I absolutely LOVE that quotes from the beginning. I wish you luck on your path of self discovery. 🙂

  9. Emily said:

    I hope that you know you are not alone! Reading this post, everything you said sounds exactly like me..it’s scary almost. Although I am currently a ballet dancer, not an actress, the struggles are similar. This was inspiring 🙂

  10. I’ll probably never forget the quote you left in a comment on one of my blog posts… Stop trying to live a perfect life and just let life be perfect. It really hit close to home and changed how I look at a lot of things. Life is freaking amazing. It is. There’s so much good in it that I’m not even sure we could handle it if we knew how blessed we really are. Striving for perfection has NEVER brought me happiness, but just letting go and living? Now that’s good stuff right there 🙂

    • Emily said:

      Aww- I’m so happy to hear that you remember me saying that. I’m constantly reminding myself of how important that is- especially when things get difficult.
      And you’re right- letting go and enjoying life is what it’s alllll about. (:

  11. Love this post, girl! I’ve come to the same realization recently–I’ve tried to make my life perfect for so long but it’s just made me wonder why my life wasn’t going the way I planned. We can’t make our lives exactly the way we want them, so why not enjoy the process and appreciate the outcome? I still believe we can find success (or even more success) if we stop focusing on perfection and just let life happen!

    • Emily said:

      “I still believe we can find success (or even more success) if we stop focusing on perfection and just let life happen!” <—- I LOVE that. It's so true. I've found that I'm always more successful when I stop obsessing about it. (:

  12. Karla Morfin said:

    I love all of this! It was like reading my own thoughts. I hope you realize how inspiring you’ve come to be to those around you, it’s awesome and I only wish you the best! 🙂

    • Emily said:

      Aww- Karla! This comment seriously put the biggest smile on my face. Thank you!
      I hope you’re doing well. Next time I’m home we should definitely try to meet up for coffee or something. (:

      • Karla Morfin said:

        Good! Smiles are great! I’m definitely up for some coffee, just message me on Facebook, we’ll exchange numbers and figure something out! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: