It takes a lot of work to realize that the pursuit of perfection is futile. That’s mainly because no one is (and will ever be) perfect. However, some people don’t accept that fact. And even if they do, they still may want to be perfect.
What’s wrong with striving for perfection, you may ask? Isn’t it healthy and desirable to strive to be successful and overcome obstacles?
Yes, as long as you do not demand that you achieve perfection.
When your standard is perfection, you are being too hard on yourself and you will always come up short. Succeeding is harder when you put so much pressure on yourself. And, when your expectations are unrealistic, it is bound to hurt your confidence.
In fact, with such high stakes, you might be creating even more problems for yourself. Are you postponing dating until you lose those few pounds? Does your fear of failure cause you to avoid taking calculated risks? Are you worried about how your body measures up to other women?
Procrastination and avoiding challenges are just the tip of the iceberg. Unhealthy perfectionism can hurt your creativity, lead to black and white thinking, and comparing yourself to others. If you have a problem with it, the root of it might be feeling unworthy or having low self-esteem. It can be associated with adverse childhood experiences, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts or impulses.
So, how can you overcome your need for perfection so that you can feel good enough about yourself?
Here are some helpful tips.
Overcome Perfectionism Tip #1: Be Mindful
Mindfulness means observing your thoughts and feelings. This process is about understanding yourself. Rather than judging your thoughts or emotions as good or bad, you simply become aware of them. Then you can choose whether or not to think or feel differently.
Overcome Perfectionism Tip #2: Stop Comparing Yourself to Everyone Else
This may be a bit harder to achieve, especially in this day and age when everybody likes to flaunt their success on social media.
But, the truth is that no matter how good we are, we can all find people who are better than we are in any area of our lives. If we constantly compare ourselves to them, we will always fall short. Unfair comparison is the perfect recipe to destroy your confidence.
Overcome Perfectionism Tip #3: Be Kind to Yourself
We all have our flaws, but that doesn’t mean you have to focus on them. Constantly finding fault with yourself can rob you of the motivation to try to improve yourself. Appreciating your good qualities and your willingness to work toward your goals is a much more effective motivator.
Overcome Perfectionism Tip #4: Don’t Believe Everything You Think
Just because you think or feel certain ways doesn’t mean your thoughts and feelings are true. You can challenge your negative thinking. When you are overly critical of yourself, it can help to get another person’s more objective perception of your situation. Or, you can start practicing selective attention. For example, instead of letting certain thoughts and ideas control your perception of yourself, try to identify events during the day that showed that you are worthy of love.
Overcome Perfectionism Tip #5: Get the Help You Need
There is no shame in getting the help you need. Rather than being a sign of failure or weakness, it is actually a sign of strength to recognize you may need help and ask for it. People get great benefits from therapy to reach real success and inner peace by being able to overcome perfectionism and feel like you’re good enough
You can develop healthy attitudes about your standards and goals. Imagine taking some of this pressure off and feeling more relaxed!
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