Did you know that many perfectionists are actually not aware of being a perfectionist? Thinking that perfectionists are the people who do everything “perfectly” is quite common. In fact, those who constantly put relentlessly high expectations upon themselves and/or others can end up very frustrated, chronically stressed, anxious and upset, rather than fulfilled. The typical areas of perfectionists are usually professional/academic performance, relationships, weight, personal appearance, sports, order, cleanness, housework, parenting, entertainment, etc.
If you identify yourself as a perfectionist, then you know that you have the ability to perform at a higher level than most people. However, may come at a cost. The more you strive harder toward perfection, the more you feel frustrated, stressed, and upset rather than fulfilled.
Here are 5 easy steps to turn yourself from being your worst enemy into your best friend:
1. Be kind to yourself, love starts within.
Self-love may appear to many of us as a luxury rather than a necessity — or as a new-age craze for individuals with too much free time.
Ironically, the more hard-working we are, the more self-care and compassion we actually need.
When we’re being too harsh on ourselves, we’re usually motivated by a desire to excel and do everything perfectly all of the time. This implies a lot of self-criticisms, and perfectionism is defined by that persecutory inner voice that continuously reminds us how we should have done things better.
Instead of prostrating, ourselves with self-criticism, self-love necessitates being warm and sympathetic towards ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate.
You can, by trusting yourself, listening to your body and taking a break from work, or making healthy choices like eating healthy, exercising or having healthy relationships. Be kind, patient, gentle and compassionate to yourself the way you would with someone else that you care about.
2. Accept that you are only human.
Realising and acknowledging your humanity is not an excuse to make mistakes but rather a reminder that your imperfections are normal. You will always excel in something and flop at another thing, and that’s okay. You can do a lot, but not everything.
It’s not about trying to ignore the decision we made was less favourable or looking for a way out; but it is about accepting, learning, resolving and moving on.
Work on “letting go of dwelling” on mistakes, accept that it’s okay, and choose growth rather than rumination.
3. Tell yourself: It is okay to make decisions that may turn out less favourable than expected.
You may reflect on your life and consider some of the awful decisions you’ve made, and you may wonder why you made those decisions, which now appear to be so poor in retrospect. However, there will always come a time when you will be making bad decisions again and will once again end up with less favourable results.
When this happens, don’t get too caught up in blaming yourself. You can always bounce back from that bad decision, and though you may not be able to mend it, you can move on and find success.
Reflect on what led to the decision and take full responsibility. Don’t throw yourself a pity party, instead, pick yourself up and move on. Refocus on your passion and start searching for solutions.
It would also help if you have a support system that can not only lift your spirits but also provide new insights to help you move forward.
Finally, forgive yourself and be proactive in making sure that you don’t have to repeat the same mistake again.
4. Remind yourself: There is only one of you in the world; so you are unique!
Oftentimes, the pressure of being perfect comes from wanting to live someone else’s seemingly perfect life. In the end, you end up trying so hard to become someone you’re not.
But do you know that you have something special to contribute to the table that others cannot?
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” – Martha Graham
Those who live as if they are someone they are not will lose touch with their actual self and will never find them again. Now is the time to get started, before it’s too late! Be your own source of motivation!
5. Don’t believe everything you think, they are just neural connections.
In your brain, the neural pathway or circuit that represents a particular thought gets activated every time you have that thought. The more often you think it, the more entrenched that pathway gets.
As this particular thought circuit gets strengthened, the thought starts to keep you up at night, when there’s nothing else to distract you. (PsychologyToday) On the extreme end, this type of persistent thought that takes deeper and deeper roots over time might point to a more significant psychological disorder, such as generalised anxiety or OCD.
This extremely common phenomenon occurs in many otherwise mentally healthy individuals (even myself, and people close to me, too).
Since your brain can hardwire a thought that you think about frequently, though what you keep thinking about may not necessarily be true, it can affect your perspective, your emotions, and your actions.
When you notice a negative thought, just stop, and take a step back. Examine the thought and look for evidence for and against it and find a more rational and realistic statement instead.
Develop the practice of taking a step back and challenging your thoughts.
My IAPC&M Accredited Signature Programme “Overcome Perfectionism and take control of your life” has successfully helped countless amount of people overcome their fear of failure, #anxiety and frustration, so they can gain mastery of their minds, build confidence, and feel more empowered to live happier lives. Visit www.mindandmood.co.uk or email [email protected] to find out more.