Confession: I am a perfectionist. As a scholar, mother, wife and counselor I strive to be my best. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), life often does not allow for perfection. Things happen that are beyond my control. If you are anything like me, the feeling of being “out of control” is uncomfortable and anxiety producing. Accepting the fact that I am never truly in control is my lifelong practice.

Recently some things have shifted in my professional life that have once again left me struck by the reality that there are few things in life that are under my control. In the midst of this process, I stumbled across something that I wrote years ago, just before I got married:

I took my wedding dress home today. It was adjusted to fit me perfectly. It was steamed and paid for. It was mine, finally.

As I paid the cashier, I noticed a dress on the rack that I had tried on back in October when I first stepped foot into boulder bridal. I felt a twinge of nostalgia remembering how good I had looked in it. It cost four times more than the dress I bought. I did not love it four times as much. Suddenly I started to panic. Was I making a mistake? Maybe my dress wasn’t the perfect dress. Maybe that one was! Or some other one hiding on the rack that I hadn’t seen!

That one elusive perfect dress… If I saw that perfect wedding dress, would I even know? Or Would I constantly be doubting my choice? What’s that saying, perfection is the enemy of good? Perfection is overwhelming. Paralyzingly even. I don’t expect everything about my wedding to be “perfect”. How easy it would be to fall short of that expectation.

When I finally pulled myself together, it occurred to me that there actually is no such thing as a “perfect” wedding dress. No more than there is a perfect wedding, marraige or husband. I found one that I love. That makes me feel beautiful, sexy, special. One that fits ME! What else could I ask for? Besides, who says I can’t admire the beauty of all the other dresses out there. Getting married doesn’t mean I’m suddenly blind. I can still appreciate them for what they are, they just aren’t for me.

Making a decision, choosing one over all the others, is a scary thing. Putting all your eggs in one basket. It is vulnerable and brave. It takes guts and it takes heart.

It is common in our culture today to be paralyzed by choices, just as it is to be paralyzed by the myth of perfection. But the only thing truly in my control is what I do next. I will step forward and trust that as long as I am acting on what is in alignment with my soul, things will come together. I will choose what brings me joy, and that will be enough.

Tajah Sahar Schall MA, LPC, R-DMT

I provide somatic (body-based), social justice oriented counseling to individuals, couples and families of all sociocultural backgrounds. I support adolescents and their families through the unique and often difficult time of transition by incorporating movement, nature and rites of passage into the therapeutic process.


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