I have been struggling with perfectionism for as long as I can remember, and it has impacted my mental and emotional health. Perfectionism is rooted within me, and it is a challenging process to break free from the perception of perfecting everything that I do.
Here is the harsh reality for us perfectionists: There is no such thing as ‘perfect’ – we have formed this perception of ‘perfect’ in our minds, as if we need to aspire to reach this concept; but the more that we try, the more it affects our mental and emotional health. We can be so hard on ourselves if we do not reach the level of ‘perfect’ that we feel is necessary to achieve greatness; however, this mindset is self-destructive. Perfectionists often self-deprecate and have a fear of failure. I can become extremely hard on myself, especially while working on assignments and tasks. If I feel as though my work is not ‘good enough,’ then I start to question and devalue my work. This form of patterned behavior can lead to mental and emotional health issues.
If you have not read The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, please consider reading it. This book is a testament to its subtitle, as it allows us to “Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.” If you struggle with perfectionism, there is a helpful guidepost, Letting Go of Perfectionism, where Brené explains how to overcome perfectionism and embrace our imperfections. I have to constantly remind myself to be cognizant of this approach; and being mindful and aware of this is a good starting point.
Here are some helpful tips to allow yourself to let go of perfectionism:
Understand and believe that you are good enough: No matter how hard this can seem, stop being hard on yourself and stop judging yourself. Recognize if you begin to develop self-deprecating thoughts and switch your mindset. For every negative thought you think of, replace it with a positive thought.
Banish the need to seek approval: Seeking approval of others contributes to worrying about what others think. The need of seeking approval or validation is self-destructing, because the need of someone else’s opinion does not define or value your worth. Instead of seeking approval from others, seek it from yourself within. Gaining confidence in yourself and your abilities will alleviate the need for validation.
Embrace your mistakes instead of being ashamed of them: As perfectionists, we dread the thought of making a mistake; but we need to realize that it’s OK to make mistakes! Instead of fearing mistakes, embrace them. Mistakes allow us to learn, grow and improve.
Incorporate self-compassion and forgiveness daily: Becoming self-compassionate will allow us to be kinder to ourselves. Incorporating the ideals of self-compassion and forgiveness will allow you to approach situations and tasks from a different perspective that is more accepting and encouraging.
Applying the options above will take time and patience; but we can achieve them with perseverance and resilience. If you need help with letting go of perfectionism, I highly recommend speaking to a licensed counselor or therapist. Seeking help from a professional is imperative to make strides within our mental and emotional health journeys. Remember, there is no such thing as ‘perfect’ and we have to eliminate this perception in order to move forward. Let’s join together to break free of perfectionism, and embrace imperfection, become more forgiving with ourselves, and incorporate self-compassion to promote a positive mindset and overall wellbeing.
This blog post is extracted from The Journey is Here, by Gianna Shikitino.