What is a Perfectionist
"I don't have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life." - Kerry Washington.
When we think about life and how it is "supposed" to be, we think about the "American Dream." The standard 2.5 kids, the house, the white picket fence, and the golden retriever waiting in the front yard for you to return home from work. We think about the fairy tale love life. The romantic comedy we see on Netflix or the Disney movies you grew up watching. When you think about children, you imagine sweet, perfectly groomed, obedient carbon copies of ourselves playing on the playground at school. Employment, No Problem, were thriving in the workplace, and the raises are rolling in, creating the perfect work-life balance with financial stability, right? Wrong…Television, movies, and social media can create a Façade in our minds that led us to think that our lives, families, appearances and abilities are far from perfect, which causes us to strive for perfection because that is how "life is supposed to be."
According to an article created by BBC News, 43 studies have been completed on perfectionism, and all results have led to burnout. According to an article created by the Hardin Group, 92% of people suffer from perfectionism, which has impacted their work success, relationship satisfaction, and conflict avoidance skills and led to burnout. The rate of perfectionism has also been proven to be steadily rising at an alarming rate since 1989, according to the American Psychological Association.
Culturally, perfection is considered a positive entity that should be reached to obtain maximum happiness and a fulfilled life. However, what does perfection mean? The Oxford dictionary defines perfection as the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. The Oxford Dictionary also defines a perfectionist as meaning: a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection. I challenge you to think about whether perfection is attainable. Can you think of something that is perfect? Many of us strive for perfection and set goals and standards for ourselves that are not achievable. According to the American Psychological Association, perfectionists are at a higher risk for developing anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Believe it or not, living a happy, fulfilling life does not have to include perfectionism. A happy, healthy, fulfilling life involves eliminating perfectionism from our lives.
Tips for Reducing Perfectionism
Self Awareness: Notice when you are being hard on yourself. We often can be our worst critics. Notice when negative thoughts creep into your consciousness and taint positive self-talk. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Nothing in life is perfect…even the parts you assumed could be perfect.
Focus on the Positive Aspects of Life: Use a gratitude journal. Write out what went well during your day and what you noticed went well for others. Awareness of other caring individuals performing good deeds can uplift your outlook on life and reduce searching for perfection.
Ex) Surround yourself with positive people, recognize your good qualities, focus on living in the present
Set Attainable goals: Goal setting is important. Setting goals that can be achieved is important for motivation. Having goals that are not attainable can cause us to have psychological inflexibility, which can cause anxiety and depression to walk into our lives.
Focus on time management: According to the American Psychological Association, poor time management is directly correlated with higher stress levels. Focusing on time management can assist with focus and productivity, which can help with being proud of your accomplishments.
Praise Yourself: Praise yourself for your accomplishments, no matter how small. Also, praise yourself for your efforts. Efforts deserve praise as well as your accomplishments because you did your personal best.
All in all, eliminating striving for perfection can be difficult, but it can be achievable with the above-mentioned tips. Life is not about what is done perfectly but about striving for your personal best and accepting what cannot be changed.
I challenge you to eliminate perfection from your life and to praise yourself for your efforts and personal bests through self-awareness, focusing on positive aspects of life, setting achievable goals, focusing on time management, and praising yourself.
For more tips, please check out our other tips https://www.plantationcounseling.com/blog). You can always find us at 954-903-1676 for counseling services.
Now Go Do Your Best!
You Got This!