Perfect as a Rose

by Rich Rusdorf - Date: 2007-01-21 - Word Count: 712 Share This!

"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for, perfection is God's business." Michael J. Fox

"The highest courage is to dare to appear to be what one is." John Lancaster Spalding

The American Rose has been described as the perfect flower. Do you strive to be perfect like the rose? I used to; I tried to do everything just right. If you told me I was good enough, I would say "Yes, but…" and tell you something I still needed to fix.

Perfection is the Enemy of Excellence

For me, needing to be perfect started at an early age when I felt abandoned. I imagined that no one would abandon a perfect person and I believed that, if I tried hard enough, I could be perfect. I fixed one aspect of myself, then another and another. Whenever I failed, I looked for more imperfections to fix.

For example, when a girl rejected me I felt undesirable because of my "short-guy" syndrome. If only I were taller then she would have dated me. I would obsess about how to make myself look taller.

Sound familiar? Take a look at the list below. If you can say, "If only I ___________, then I'd get what I want (or be happier)", then you might be suffering under the "Perfect Rose Syndrome."

__Were taller, thinner, prettier, younger, etc.
__Were from a good family
__Were wealthier or smarter
__Had graduated from a great school
__Had a better job or career
__Were married
__Had a boyfriend/girlfriend/children
__Had a lot of friends or connections
__Had wide public recognition
__Placed higher in the rankings
__Had more talent
__Were more experienced
__Were more charming
__Lived in a nicer house/neighborhood/geographical location
__Were of a different ethnicity
__Had a nicer car/wardrobe
__Had better health

By now you may have realized that, even if you fixed everything that was wrong with you, you would still find something else to work on.


I wanted to show the world only what I believed the world wanted to see. It wasn't until I learned the skills of knowing and accepting myself that I began to recognize and accept that there were qualities in me that I didn't like. I learned that those things didn't make me a bad person. I no longer believe that I must be perfect to be a good person. I need only to be who I actually am.

With more self-acceptance, I stopped being inhibited by how I presented myself to others. Of course, nailing down the skill didn't happen overnight, but I get more relaxed and content about who I am all the time.

Five Ways To Begin Accepting Yourself

Accepting doesn't mean liking everything about yourself, deciding that you're fine just the way you are, or that you should stop trying to improve yourself. It's that you can begin to acknowledge and accept even the aspects of yourself, which you don't like. Acknowledging and accepting are the opposites of rejecting and denying.

You can learn to do this: Give yourself permission to be wrong. Recognize that just because you do or say something wrong doesn't mean that you as a person are bad or inferior.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Identify your strengths, values and life purpose.

Make a list of all the words that describe qualities you don't like and imagine three ways each word could apply to you.

Work on giving up your need to control outcomes.

As you become more comfortable with yourself, you will keep reducing the need to impress people with your looks, words, accomplishments and good deeds in order to feel worthy. You'll discover that you're not that bad, after all.

Self-acceptance is so important to your overall emotional, mental, and physical well-being that you will most likely want to enlist the aid of a trained professional therapist or coach to help you identify where you judge yourself, and to stop those negative, self-defeating thought processes.

Let me know if what I've written doesn't help you to stop trying to be perfect and I'll answer questions and respond to comments. If all else fails, remember this: a rose may be perfectly beautiful, but some people just prefer daisies.

I am grateful for my colleague, Robyn Yurcek, and my girlfriend, Kathryn Beyers for their contributions to my articles, including this one.

Copyright 2006 Richard Rusdorf, CPCC, The Courageous Way Group. All rights reserved.

Related Tags: coaching, law of attraction, change, personal growth, spirituality, challenges, abundance, authenticity

Rich Rusdorf of San Rafael, California, is a certified coach, speaker, workshop leader, and author. An expert on behavioral authenticity, he helps people identify their life purposes so they can have the freedom to achieve their desires by being who they really are. You can read more about him at

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