Loving Myself Despite Failed Expectations & Imperfection | Inspirationindulgence.com

Failure. Imperfect. Lazy. Worthless. Fat. 

These are the messages that have been subtly creeping in my head repeatedly, bouncing around aimlessly; not serving me.

Perfection does not exist, but that does not keep me from working hard to achieve it. I am, and always will be, a goal-setter, and when I don’t achieve my goals; when I fail in my own eyes, I take it very hard. There’s a part of my personalty that is both a blessing and a curse to me; I am hardworking, driven and determined, yet sometimes my hunger to succeed and achieve causes more anxiety and trouble than it’s worth.

I am my own worst enemy at times.

I think that sometimes people are surprised when I get really vulnerable via my blog. “But you’re so positive and happy all the time!”  I may exude positivity, self-love, and worthiness, but I would be inhumane if I didn’t have feelings of shame and insecurity at times. I also am a REAL girl; one who struggles, falls down, and fails. I get angry, cry, pity myself, and then get over it. I struggle just like all of you, and things are not always perfect.

Lately it seems that I’m in a constant race with my life. Have you ever had that nightmare when you’re running a race and trying so hard to beat your opponent, but time is moving in slow motion? Or your feet are submerged in quicksand? I feel like I am always in a race with the clock. There is always a nagging to-do list, and sometimes 24 hours in a day just doesn’t seem enough.

The summer months have always been my favorite time. I love warm weather, and we only get so much time of it in Wisconsin, so I don’t take it for granted. I was reminiscing the other day of how my summers used to consist of working at the ice-cream shop, hitting up the movies every weekend, sleeping in till noon and tanning outside. Not a care in the world. Now, my summer is filled with grad studies courses, making money, resume-building, keeping up with my house, wedding planning, and essentially running a small business with the fashion portion of my blog. I love my life, and my intentions certainly are not to complain.  Life is just very different compared to what it looked like 7 years ago.

Adulting, in a sense, is what happened.

Lately, I’ve had many high expectations for myself that have failed, essentially. And like I mentioned above, I don’t take failing very lightly.

-I wanted to write a book this summer, and I am struggling finding the time to do it.
-I wanted to lose 7 pounds by this summer, and instead I’ve gained 7 pounds.
-I wanted to take a blogging e-Course this summer, but that hasn’t happened.
-I wanted to attend a Girlboss conference, but don’t have the time or money.
-I wanted to get a huge amount of wedding planning done, and I’ve barely touched my planner.
-I’ve had my Nikon since Christmas, and still haven’t set the time aside to learn how to use it.
-I’ve had to lower my number of blog posts per week due to my highly intense grad program.
-I wanted to spend some time volunteering this summer, and I haven’t yet. 

Just writing down that list makes me feel like crap. They are failures in my eyes, and it feels like someone just pounded me with a ton of bricks. But see, friends, that’s the thing; these really aren’t failures. They are SHORTCOMINGS.

I am not a failure. I love with my whole heart and have a wonderful support system of family and friends. I am a graduate student. I make enough money to support myself (barely- LOL!! But besides the point.) I reach thousands of people with my blog daily. I am healthy. So why do I still think that I am a failure? Because I currently don’t have the income I desire? Because I’m not stick skinny? Because maybe I don’t have enough Instagram followers as I want? Because I don’t have my dream job yet?

I wrote this post to remind myself of something important, and to remind you all who, like me, feel the effects of “failure” when you don’t achieve everything that you hope.

We are not defined by our shortcomings.

My main gal Brené Brown says it best in her best selling book, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Arewhich is one my all time favorites: “You are imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

You know, maybe I won’t finish my book this summer, or hell, in the next 25 years. Maybe I won’t ever be 125 pounds. Maybe I will never find the time to attend a blogging conference. But guess what? So far this summer, I’ve read 6 books. That’s more that I have read for pleasure in the past 5 years combined!! And the time that I could be spending writing my book, I will instead be traveling the West Coast, and making memories that will last me a lifetime with my fiancé. This summer I will attend a total of 4 weddings and celebrate the love of my friends. AND, after this summer, I will be 3 credits closer to obtaining my Master’s degree. These are all accomplishments, but not ones that we readily praise.

We like to define our worth and base our happiness off of achievements, which can be self-destructive.

I am busy, not a failure. I am not defined by my limited self-constructed idealism of who I SHOULD be, rather than who I am in this MOMENT.

This post was painful for me to write at first, but it feels really great to get that all out in words. Now tell me, what do you feel has been your shortcoming lately? Let’s encourage, support, and love one another. Have a great week, babes!


  • Rachel Ritlop

    I can totally relate Chelsea! I think happiness is a practice and shouldn’t be based on achievements.

    • It can be such a struggle. Thanks for stopping by! xo

  • Girl, I RELATE! Probably more than I explain in words. The striving for perfection, the long todo lists with goals and dreams, the hard working mentality, the need for feeling like you’re succeeding…oh vey, I could go on. I’m working on accepting my failures and seeing them in a different light so it was amazing to read I’m not the only one in this place.

    • Thanks for reading, friend! I try not to think of my failures as failures, but just stepping stones for different opportunities!

  • Lindsay Katherine

    Oh so so true, Chelsea. But what you list as your failures, I see as your to-do list – those ‘failures’ are really just goals. We all are our own worst enemies. I love your honesty and positive message in this post.

    • Aw thank you, sweet Lindsay. I know that they are not truly failures, but they are different goals than I had planned!

  • I can SO relate to this! Thanks for sharing — I needed to read this post today!

  • Girl I can totally relate. I think we all can. Thanks for such an awesome post!
    Lee Anne

    • Thanks for reading, Lee Anne! I love your blog so much!

  • This is so empowering, I needed to read this! I can also relate to being frustrated whenever I don’t achieve a goal but life happens and you have to put everything into perspective!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise

    • Thanks for reading, chick! Sometimes we do just need a little perspective to remind us of how badass we are.

  • Mimi Rose

    I can completely relate to this post – sometimes we can be our own worst enemy and so much more harsh on ourselves than necessary. This is a great reminder to not focus on what we would consider “failures” in ourselves, but to look at them from a new perspective and to simply be kinder to ourselves as a whole. Loved this post, thank you for sharing Chels!

    • Aw thank you, Mimi! I poured my heart into this one and am really glad that you enjoy it! xo

  • It’s east to focus on the negatives! We have to remind ourselves of what we have accomplished instead of what we haven’t. Enjoyed the post!

    • Thanks for stopping by! xo

  • You should make a list of the things you HAVE accomplished so far – seems like you’ve been extremely productive to me!

    • Aw thanks!! Maybe I should do that….it might make me feel better and more accomplished!

  • Great post as always Chels. I definitely struggle with these feelings sometimes, it’s important to remember what you’ve accomplished rather than what you haven’t! You’re already a girl boss!

    And on a completely unrelated subject… hop on to pottermore and read about Ilvermorny today and then get yourself sorted into a house!

    • OMG!!!! How do you know me so extremely well?!!!

      • haha because I TOTALLY get the obsession with everything HP! (Thunderbird btw!)

  • I can totally relate. I have been struggling with thinking about how fat I am right now. A gratitude journal helps get me in a more positive mood for a day, but it doesn’t always work.

    • Aw girl. We all have those feelings from time to time. Be gentle and love yourself. You deserve it. <3

  • Oh my gosh, I am totally relating to this. I too look at the list of things I had every intention of accomplishing, yet haven’t accomplished yet, and get SO down on myself. I definitely needed this pick-me-up. I love how inspiring you are!

    • Aw well I hope it helps! In my eyes, you have already accomplished so much so I don’t think you are struggling with getting things finished at all!

  • Greta Hollar

    I am so inspired by all that you do and think you’re amazing! Don’t lear your insecurities get you down babe!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  • “I am busy, not a failure.” What great words to live by! I think many women can relate to the feeling of trying to do the work of a superhero, and then beating ourselves up when we can’t accomplish everything! Thanks for a great reminder that we can all be a little more forgiving with ourselves!

    • YES. That’s the word I’ve been looking for. I can’t always be a superhero! Thanks for listening and reading!

  • Neely

    Girl this post is amazing as are you!

  • sarah

    wow Chels, I love this so so much. And I couldn’t agree more. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to feeling insufficient and not good enough. Thank you for sharing truth to so many people out there that need to hear this and are feeling the same way <33

    Sarah Grace

    • Aw thanks for reading, lady. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it. It felt awesome to get it all out on paper (screen time!)

  • Katy Bateman

    I love this! I love that you listed the things you want to do, despite not being able to finish them. There is total power in writing your goals down.

    • There is. I feel SO much more power when I write the goals down, for sure.

  • Jessica Hughes

    I love this! So very true and so true that your imprefections don’t define you!

  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    Yes! You are not a failure. You are not your shortcomings!!

    • Thanks for reading, lady!

  • Love this post, girl! It’s so real and I am sure many people can relate. I have been feeling very similar lately so I sure did.

    • I feel like we all get this way from time to time….we just need to remind ourselves how amazing we are, and be confident!

  • Wow, Chelsea. I loved this. I’ve felt so down this summer because I haven’t had time to do so many things that I’ve wanted to do, which includes losing the extra weight I put on while I was stress eating through my last term of university. But you are right, they are shortcomings. But it doesn’t mean that we will never achieve this goals, but not when we thought we would!

    • Hey Emma! Aw I feel ya girl! And let me tell ya- taking courses at a university is so stressful!! Just keep your eyes on the prize…one day at a time! You got this! XO

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    I just love your posts. They are full of so much motivation. Event though you see yourself failing in areas, I see your success in your amazing attitude. You are an inspiration, pretty lady!

    • Aw Jessica! That makes my heart so happy that you love my posts! Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! XO

  • Wow, I sure needed to hear this. Great reminder for today…especially as we jump past the halfway mark of 2016. I LOVE Brene’ Brown and what she teaches. Truly an amazing lady. So glad I found your blog and look forward to visiting again soon. xo

    • Brene is awesome and I’m so happy you found my blog! Thanks for allowing me to get vulnerable with you! XO

  • This is amazing, thank you for being brave and sharing your soul. We all feel this way, we all get down on ourselves. I also feel like there isn’t enough time, and I’m never getting to do everything I want. It’s so hard! We have to remember to take it one day at a time, not to just simply label ourselves as failures because we didn’t get to it all. I like to list what I DID accomplish, what IS going well, what I am grateful for to motivate myself and pull myself out of a funk! It’s all about perspective.

    Thanks so so much for sharing!

    • Thanks for reading lady! It’s a simple concept to list what we HAVE accomplished, but I rarely do it!! Actually that’s a great thought. Maybe at the end of the day I’ll start writing a list before bed about what I DID accomplish so it makes me feel better about myself (:

  • Love this, Chelsea, and I struggle with the same feelings sometimes. Just know that what you’re balancing right now is A LOT and It’s okay to not accomplish everything on that to-do list. Going to grad school is hard (trust me been there done that), but it’s so rewarding in the end. Don’t beat yourself up because as you said no one is perfect and our shortcomings do not make us failures. Great post!

    • Aw Cara!! You sweetie!!! Thank you for saying that. Made me tear up! It IS a lot to balance and at times I feel like I’m not really accomplishing anything (not making enough money, not having enough time, etc!) But it will totally be worth it.

  • Beth Shankle Anderson

    Kudos to you for acknowledging your shortcomings while setting goals! A lot of people don’t have the bravery to do that. You are well on your way to achieving the goals that you’ve set, it will just take a bit more time and effort. You’ll get there!

    • Aw thank you so much, Beth. I appreciate your care and love!! XO

  • The London Dater

    Great to see you can focus on what you HAVE achieved as well as what you’d like to do get done.

    Great post as always Chelsea.

    Looking forward to your book 😉

    • Thanks so much, friend! XO

  • Val Carmona

    This post hit straight to the heart for me, I felt like I was reading some of my own struggles! As women I think we tend to be harder on ourselves than necessary but agree the struggle is real! Keep on striving for the stars, you are doing great!

    • Aw VAL! Thank you so much, lady! It really helps to know that others resonate with me. We can do this!

  • Gosh, girl! I know how you feel!
    I had planned to make a devotional email course by nail, to have lost about 20 pounds, and have been taking better care of myself.
    But you are right. We are not failures. We are simply human. We cannot achieve perfection.

    • YES. We are human. That sentence right there.

  • I love this, girl! This has been one of my own biggest downfalls; personally I struggle with loving myself despite my physical imperfections and limitations. It’s hard to feel confident in my body when there is so much wrong with it in my eyes that I had no control over. I am on a constant journey to accept my body for what it is and to love it for what it has done for me, regardless of my scars. It’s a process, but I’m working on it

    • Girl you inspire me so much. Please never be ashamed of who you are ! You’re so beautiful, inside and out.

  • Zana Djakovic

    Wow, girl, this is the topic I want to write about too, just a little bit different of course. It touched me, this post, your writing, your sincere heart! You are being you, always, and that’s what I love the most about you! I truly admire you for that. But let me tell you something, if I can. I noticed that you are most of the time in some kind of a race with time. You want this and you want that, which is a good thing, but there is not “enough time”. Well, time is nothing! Time doesn’t exist! Time is now, just this moment, not yesterday not even tomorrow. It’s only now. So what if you don’t finish writing your book this summer? That is totally okay..it’s a process, don’t hurry yourself because you feel that you “must” finish it now. You don’t. Enjoy in the process of creating it, eve if it takes you two years to write it.
    Just like you said at the end: ” I am not defined by my limited self-constructed idealism of who I SHOULD be, rather than who I am in this MOMENT.” Wow! Those are the words to live by!!
    I am sending you lots of love babe!

    • Oh my gosh. I AM IN TEARS!!! Your words always inspire me so much, Zana. I am so thankful to have you in my life. I really do think this is such an Americanized ideal as well; we seem to rush our lives away. I wish it wasn’t the case. Thank you for inspiring me that it is indeed okay if I don’t meet my own goals. The world will still keep turning (:

      • Zana Djakovic

        There is one thing I am 100% sure about: you will meet your own goals, dear. There is no doubt in that. I have no doubt in you, neither you should have! I am blessed and grateful to be a part of your life too and yes I am blessed because I know that I will witness of you achieving your goals. I just know that in my heart! ❤

      • Aw sweet girl. You just know what to say to make me feel so great! Thank you so much for your continued love and support.

  • AMEN ON SO MANY LEVELS. Chels, you are so beautiful and so enough and so inspiring to so many people. Shortcomings are not definitions. They’re simple existent, the same way all of your SUCCESSES are existent. It’s all about perspective sometimes!

    Coming Up Roses

    • Oh my gosh! You are making me tear up too!!! “you are so enough.” I needed to hear that today. I am so thankful to have such an encouraging gal as yourself be in my inner circle. Love you, lady! Xo

  • Love this post…and really all of our posts! I love that I feel so uplifted after reading. I feel that I can be my own worse enemy at times too. I always have to think about the things I am doing to see if they are self-sabotaging in anyway- it is always very humbling!

    • Aw thanks so much, Autumn! That means so much to me! Indeed we are our own worst enemy at times, and it sucks.

  • This is an amazing post Chelsea, you touched me indeed. I do feel that the failure was becoming my friend lately since i have many goals to accomplished this years, too much busy!!. Now i know, shortcoming wasn’t define who i am, but don’t notice that i have accomplished more than i think i don’t. I have more than i need and i know.

    Thank you so much Chelsea for this well written post.

    • Aw! You are so sweet, my dear! Thank you for reading and for relating. I think life goes by too fast and we have to remember that it’s OKAY if we don’t accomplish everything at once!! It doesn’t mean we are failures at all. We are HUMAN.