The Mighty Logo

How Taking Family Photos Made Me Realize It’s OK Not to Be Perfect

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

It feels like there is so much pressure on everyone to be perfect at all times. In today’s world of social media, live videos and even retouching apps for your phone, a lot of us feel like we can never let people see the “real” us. The imperfect us.

Let’s talk about that for a minute.

I used to be a perfectionist in many ways — and don’t get me wrong, it is certainly a good thing to do your best in any given situation.

But we are human. We aren’t meant to be perfect 24/7. It just doesn’t happen. And that pressure we put on ourselves to do so? That can hurt us in so many ways.

Personally, I always used to feel I had to be at my absolute best around everyone at all times. It didn’t matter if I was tired, sick, upset or just having an off day. I would put on a happy face and go with it. I hid so much from the world, bottled everything up and then paid for it with chronic pain and inflammation.   

Because we’re all made of energy, right? I believe the emotions we keep ourselves from feeling and working through stop the energy from flowing and ultimately cause physical symptoms.

In the last several months, I’ve really done a lot of inner work and have released that perfectionism to a large extent. And the pictures below are a perfect example of what has come from that.

I used to work as a professional photographer, and every year I take fall family pictures. I set up my tripod, put my camera on a timer and pray my kids would smile and look at the camera. Which never ever happens. I would get frustrated and give up. And, most importantly, I wouldn’t have fun — neither would my husband or kids!

So yesterday, I was determined to go about this all from a different angle. Keep in mind, I hadn’t slept in three nights, neither child took a nap and we were using the last little bit of daylight.

I decided to have fun. We would get the pictures we would get, and I wanted them to be real. We played in the leaves, we tickled each other and the pictures I got were awesome!

Until my mother-in-law pointed out the slight flaw in the bottom right picture of my son.

collage of family photos taken in the fall

Do you see it? It’s a great shot, right? He looks so happy!


There it is. Shoes on the wrong feet.

But you know what? That makes it all so perfect. Because it is perfectly imperfect. It’s us. It’s my son, real and authentic. And I would take fun and perfectly imperfect any day!

Now I can laugh at myself when I mess up. I can appreciate shoes on the wrong feet and cheesy smiles because it’s real. I can just have fun without expectations.

So if you’re one of those people who always feel like they have to be 100 percent, take a deep breath. Ask yourself why. Because I promise you, when you let the world see the real you — flaws and all — they’re going love you.

 We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: November 2, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home