Trying Not To Obsess
January 1, 2022
Laura Lee

I like to think of myself as a perfectionist, in every aspect of my life. From the way, my hair lies on my head, to how my shoes line up in the shoe rack. The distance between my plants has to be equal, anything with a right angle has to line up perfectly, and all the food in my pantry has to have its labels facing forward so they’re readable. At some point, this perfectionism overflows into obsessiveness.


The thing is, I’m human, and I’m not perfect. And sometimes, no matter how hard I try, things just won’t be perfect. The problem arises when I start obsessing over the imperfections. With time I’ve learned to develop different ways around my issues. I avoid looking in mirrors as much as possible because otherwise I’ll get worked up if something is out of place. I prefer things to be asymmetrical because that way there’s less room for mistakes. I even prefer things in odd numbers, because even numbers would need perfect symmetry.


Woman pruning potted silk floss tree

Getty Images/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Zen Shui/Michele Constantini


All these little quirks and habits of mine don’t really affect anyone else. People might think it’s weird, or just laugh it off, but at the end of the day, no one else suffers from my obsession. Until I found myself in a long-term relationship. Suddenly there was someone else for me to obsess over, and not in a lovey-dovey cutesie way, but in a ‘why isn’t this like that’ kind of way.


Yoga equipment neatly laid out

Getty Images/DigitalVision/The Creative Drone


When we had a disagreement and managed to work through it, I’d find myself obsessing about it afterward, stewing in my own failure to be a ‘perfect girlfriend’. But this wasn’t healthy for me or for us. I had to start learning new ways to deal with this side of me. I couldn’t pin my high perfect expectations on him either, because it would always be a lose-lose situation. I also finally started learning to lower my own high self-expectations. I’m still working on it, but I’m finally understanding just how true it is that we learn from our mistakes, and they only make us stronger. Life isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being human.


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