Perfectionism- refusal to accept any standard short of perfection.
Having to be perfect in all areas of life can be overwhelming and toxic. We may have built up expectations and rules for ourselves through personal belief and our surrounding culture, and if we don’t or can’t meet those rules, we feel as though we have fallen short. I know that I deal with this, and it is something that I have really been working on lately…letting go of those expectations and rules I have built up…where the heck did I come up with all of them?! There is a lot of pressure in today’s world to be the best. To be perfect…and this is what I want to talk about today. I have been thinking a lot about this topic and exactly what to say. How to address it in the right way; in a way that will help others. I have read a lot of articles that I’ll touch on and hope that my message comes across in the right way. A helpful way.
Perfectionism will always carry a negative. It is never about seeing the GOOD and the progress, but only the negative-everything you are doing wrong or don’t have. Perfectionism is linked to unrealistic aspirations…where nothing is ever good enough…and can be associated to anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Perfectionists have to be the best. “…It is rampant in our society and often takes the form of obsession with appearance, achievement, or prestige.” Sure we want to be apart of that American Dream where we can achieve whatever we want if we try hard enough…and I really believe that we can! But pursuing those dreams with a perfectionistic approach can ultimately lead to ‘worthlessness, fear, and shame’.
Perfectionism not only affects you, but the loved ones around you. If we have these perfect expectations for ourselves, we can start to have them for our children, spouses, and other people around us. Like I said, toxic and exhausting! You never really get to enjoy all that you have and engage in what is around you…
I could go on and on about perfectionism and all that it entails. (I’ll attach some articles) If you are feeling this way at all about being the perfect mom, business owner, athlete, etc., you are not alone. There are ways to help let go of that perfectionism!
This helpful steps come from,
- Acknowledge the good things about you! Make a list of the qualities you like about yourself, the wonderful relationships you have, positive experiences you have had…a gratitude journal really. Start by writing something down about yourself or your day that is positive. Do it everyday.
- Pay attention to your thoughts. Recognize those thoughts that come in. The “im not good enough” thoughts and the ones that beat you up. Start to categorize them. Recognizing that these thoughts are your perfectionistic thoughts and that they don’t need to be fed. Put them in a box and leave them on the shelf for a while. Eventually we will remove that shelf all together, but placing them there is a start to taking a step back. Our goal is to continue to recognize these thoughts, categorize them, and let them go. These are the thoughts that are false! They aren’t you and they don’t define you.
- Love and serve. Try your best to view people with a more open and loving eye. A less critical eye. This not only helps your relationships with others, but the relationship with yourself. Like my last article, life is about supporting one another, not one-upping everyone around you.
- Surround yourself with good people.
- Find a therapist. Find someone that can help you recognize your unique and special qualities, and that can help you let go of those perfectionistic thoughts. Seeing a therapist has been one of the best decisions of my life and ANYONE can benefit.
It is time for that perfectionistic pressure to subside and for you to be able to start living a little more! To be more engaged, happy, and to love yourself more.
Check out more on perfectionism with these articles!