A to Z Challenge | Q is for Quintessential 17

Day 17 of my mental health themed A to Z Challenge is Q for Quintessential. This is something which represents a perfect or typical example. I always think of describing an English country pub or a summers day as quintessential. But for the purposes of this blogging challenge I am interpreting it as perfectionism.


A little while ago I listened to an episode of one of my favourite podcasts, Episode 46 of the Couragemakers Podcast. In it Meg interviews Wendy de Jong who describes herself as a recovering perfectionist. It was really interesting to hear perfectionism being discussed as a negative characteristic, as something that is unhealthy and ultimately leading to mental health issues. I was also intrigued by Wendy’s work on The Gratefulist as an antidote to a life of perfectionism. Because of my #FridayFive gratitude practice I am keen to explore how gratitude is healthier than perfectionism.


Since listening to this podcast I’ve been thinking about me and whether I would describe myself as a perfectionist. Do I seek to be the perfect dog-mum? The perfect friend, sister, girlfriend or daughter? Do I try to be the quintessential blogger? The quintessential good girl? The quintessential hard worker?


Many years ago I would have said yes straight away. Yes I am a perfectionist. And I think I even used it as an answer to the what is your greatest weakness question in an interview (which makes me cringe a little now!) I do believe in doing things well and doing my best. I can become stressed when I’m not doing things right or well enough but my biggest worry is that I’m not good enough rather than being perfect.


But what if perfectionism takes over your life? It’s really easy to give in to the pressure to be perfect whether that pressure comes from yourself, other people or society. It’s easy to get sucked into creating the perfect Instagram photo, having the perfect body and the perfect life. Perfectionism can take the fun and joy out of life.


Are you prone to perfectionism? Can you stop it taking over your life? How can you embrace your perfect imperfect self?


Thankyou for reading,


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Let me know what you think

17 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge | Q is for Quintessential

  • beetleypete

    A good choice for an awkward letter, Lauren. I might have chosen ‘Questioning’, but that works alongside this word.

    Long ago, I decided never to try to be a perfectionist. Those who follow that path rarely achieve satisfaction, and often experience intense frustration. I also question their motivation for being perfectionists. Are they driven by society, or would they be like that anyway? Perfect teeth, perfect figure, perfect everything. Is that what it has all come down to? I choose to question this way of life, and to conclude that it has little value, and in itself is an obsession, that like so many others can impede personal progress.

    Best wishes, Pete.

    • LaurenEph Post author

      Thankyou for sharing your thoughts Pete. You have a great insight into people and life. Perfection has been interesting to ponder recently. Motivation behind it is a good aspect to consider.

  • Kaddu

    I agree with Pete. Perfectionism is an obsession, and eventually, it can only lead to frustration. I am prone to it, yes. My Dad is a perfectionist, and I apparently got this trait from him. But you know what! These daily blogging challenges are the ones that have helped me curb this trait within me. Perfectionists never get most things done, but when you participate in a challenge like this AtoZ, you have to put your work out there, even if it is not perfect by your standard!

    Anyway, glad to connect with you during this challenge. Do visit mine sometime.
    Happy AtoZing!
    Chicky @ http://www.mysteriouskaddu.com

    • LaurenEph Post author

      That is very true about this challenge! I haven’t been as prepared for it as I would have liked, spotted it on the 31st March! And haven’t had the time to prepare a weeks worth of posts on the Sunday breaks. But yes you have to hit publish on something even if it’s not long enough or not quite right. I’m hoping to go back and expand on some of my posts anyway 😀 thanks for checking out my blog, I will take a look at yours too.

    • LaurenEph Post author

      I like your comment that everything to is extreme is a weakness, I think that is true. Thankyou for sharing your thoughts. I’ve taken a look at your blog and liked your fun entry for Q!

    • LaurenEph Post author

      That’s very true and is something this challenge is teaching me, I need to press publish each day even if my blog post isn’t perfect 😀

  • Kalpanaa

    What a lovely choice of word for Q. Quintessential. And I appreciate the way you have chosen to interpret it to mean perfectionism. A seeming virtue that can be such a trap.

  • C. J. Hartwell

    I have a tendency for perfectionism, but I’m trying to improve. 😉
    Seriously, I’ve come to realize that expecting perfection stifles both my creativity and productivity. So I’m trying to live by “good enough” instead.
    Side note: I once answered the interview question on weaknesses the same way. *cringe*

    • LaurenEph Post author

      I’m not to worried about being typical, although I probably was as a teenager! Don’t think of it as weird, think of it as unique 😊

  • AK.Prowling

    I m so glad that I stumbled upon your blog! I loved this post. The fear of not being perfect is something I am still dealing with!

    I’m lagging behind I’ll catch up with the challenge soon!

    • LaurenEph Post author

      Aww, Thankyou so much. I’m really pleased you like my posts. It’s the harder letters now we’re coming to the end of the alphabet and it feels like more work!