The world of social media and having so many lives on display have brought the tremendous desire to live the “perfect” life. Whether it is on a personal or professional level, many are setting unrealistic expectations of what their life should look like as they actively strive towards perfectionism.
However, what people do not realize is that the more they delve into this mentality of perfectionism, the harder being content and happy with what they have become. Perfectionism is based on the need to be or appear perfect in different aspects. And while some might say that this is a healthy way to stay motivated and on top of things, it is also important to highlight that too much of anything can backfire. In reality, being a perfectionist can be a double-edged sword because the same way it can encourage you to keep moving, it can also cause stress, anxiety and self-doubt.
Productivity Coach, Matt Plummer, even says that, “a lot of perfectionistic tendencies are rooted in fear and insecurity,” which comes to show that what perfectionism really does is give us the chance to hide away behind our achievements, because we are afraid and insecure.
Not only that but perfectionism might also drive people to procrastinate more as they would never want to start something unless it is the “right time” so that it can be perfect. With this deep need to have everything perfect, the quality of our life and relationships will be significantly affected as there is no such thing as perfect.
One meta-analysis study reported that perfectionists are at a higher risk of developing mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders.
With the negative impact that perfectionism can have on our lives and relationships, it is important to find ways to combat it, and here are some tips:
- Awareness is key
Notice when the perfectionist in you is surfacing and become aware of your thought pattern. By taking some time to become aware, you are already acknowledging the fact that you need to manage these perfectionist thoughts.
- Set realistic goals
The goals and expectations you set for yourself play a key role in how you perceive perfectionism. It is only normal to want to be a perfectionist if the goals you are setting are unrealistic. Therefore, take a step back and evaluate whether the goals you are setting for yourself are reasonable or not.
- Stop being so hard on yourself
Knowing the kind of standards to set brings us to the importance of not putting too much pressure on yourself. Practicing self-acceptance and realizing that the fact that you are actually doing something is good enough can help you see that sometimes good is better than perfect.
- Give yourself credit!
Getting something done is more important than doing it “perfectly,” because in all honesty, there is no such thing as perfect. And if you are a perfectionist, chances are you will always find something wrong in what you did and blame yourself for it. It is instrumental that you give yourself the credit you deserve and celebrate your achievements!
Italian philosopher Voltaire said, do not let perfect be the enemy of good.
So, if you are doing something then you are already ahead of most people, embrace and celebrate it!
- Ask for support
Sometimes talking to someone can help us see things in a different and clearer light. There is a lot of anxiety and stress that come with perfectionism and so talking about it to a friend, family member or professional can help you put things into perspective.
Remember, the best way to learn is by making mistakes and seeking feedback, like when you start practicing a new language; if you do not try to pronounce, write and get feedback, you will never get there.
At the end of the day we all know that striving to do better and grow is important, however, once it becomes extreme then that is when we know we have to take a step back. During a workshop session about having a black and white mentality, Emotional Fitness Coach, Dareen Kotob, highlighted how extreme ways of thinking yield extreme emotions and how unhealthy that can be.
So if being a perfectionist is hurting you, then it is time to go for a gray way of thinking and make it your new best friend!
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