You Don't Need To Have It All Together (In Fact, It's Better If You Don't)

For a long time, I believed I had to do everything [all the time] (no matter what). It didn’t matter what I was struggling with. I always added something extra in the mix to signal my progress towards perfection.

During my senior year of college, I added a second degree just to prove that I could. I completed it and graduated on time (despite everyone in my life wishing otherwise). I also made it home every weekend to be with my mom, worked three jobs, partied all the time, and never slept.

Because when you’re doing everything, or at least doing more than everyone else around you, no one can question you. They have no leverage against you. And the best part? You never have to expose yourself or be vulnerable at all! Everyone thinks, “Ooooh, look at her. She’s really doing things.”

The problem is: when others think you’re perfect, you aren’t relatable. You aren’t even human, let alone worthy of being a confidant or friend. You become the kind of person that people love to hate running into. It’s like, “Oh, there’s Kate again. She’s just going to tell me that everything’s all good and ask me about myself.”

Perfectionism ends up serving as a barrier between you and the love you want to experience.

The sickening thing of it all is that that only pushes you to double down. “Well, I’ll show them! I’ll do even more than last time!”

The cycle would never end if it weren’t for feeling like a fraud in your own life.

I know for me, the stories I would tell myself always felt like a facade. Kind of like the buildings on a movie set. To anyone walking down the street, they’d seem real. But if anyone attempted to open this front door, they’d be surprised that this house I’ve built is actually just one fancy looking wall.

People ask me all the time if it’s easy to be so open and vulnerable like I am today. The short truth is: no. It’s never easy to expose who you really are, what you really think, the mistakes you’ve made, and the lies you’ve told.

That’s why so few of us do it. We are afraid of being unlovable.

But that logic is twisted. Blowing up that 2D house was the best thing I ever did. It made the possibility of experiencing real love, from all kinds of people, a lot more likely. If I hadn’t blown it up, no one could have ever made it past the front door. They would have loved the thought of me, but never me.

If you feel like you’re living behind a fancy wall, I encourage you to do the same. Blow it up. Start building a new house—your house. Truth by truth. Brick by brick.

Kate Ward