HOW TO OVERCOME PERFECTIONISM AND FIND PEACE OF MIND

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HOW TO OVERCOME PERFECTIONISM AND FIND PEACE OF MIND

by | Apr 21, 2023

“Perfectionism is the enemy of creativity, productivity, and sanity.” – Shauna Niequist

Do you struggle with perfectionism?…

I did! Stay tuned for 5 simple tips to help you overcome perfectionism.

Perfectionism is the belief that anything less than perfect is not good enough. People who struggle with perfectionism often set unrealistically high standards for themselves and feel anxious and stressed when they are unable to meet those standards. This can lead to self-criticism, low self-esteem, and anxiety.

I carried this belief with me for many years, and I know very well the cycle of pressure and stress that it creates. As a perfectionist, I set very high standards for myself, constantly striving to meet my own unrealistic expectations. I felt as though I had to be perfect in everything I did, and that anything less than perfect was unacceptable. The need to be perfect ran the gamut from getting all A’s in school to executing the perfect dinner party to never making a mistake on the job. The list is endless.

Signs and symptoms associated with perfectionism…

If you suffer with the belief that you have to be perfect, you’ll understand some of the signs associated with it which include all-or-nothing thinking, being highly critical, having unrealistic standards, focusing only on results and not the process, fear of failure, procrastination and defensiveness. You know how exhausting and overwhelming it can be.

Perfectionism can lead to stress and anxiety as we worry about making mistakes or not being good enough. This can make it difficult to relax and enjoy life, as we are always focused on our flaws and shortcomings.

In some cases, perfectionism can even lead to depression. When we are constantly putting ourselves down and beating ourselves up for not being perfect, it can take a toll on our self-esteem. This can make us feel worthless and hopeless, and can lead to feelings of sadness and despair.

Here are some strategies for overcoming perfectionism that have led me to find peace of mind and to experience more joy. I hope some of these may help you as well.

1. Set Realistic Expectations…

One of the key characteristics of perfectionism is setting unrealistic expectations for yourself. Instead, set goals that are achievable and reasonable. You can start small and gradually increase your expectations as you build confidence while remembering that perfection is indeed impossible.

2. Embrace Your Imperfections…

Perfectionism is often rooted in the fear of failure or rejection. However, it’s important to remember that nobody is perfect, and it’s okay to make mistakes. Try to reframe your thinking and embrace your imperfections as opportunities for growth and learning. Of course, I still don’t enjoy making mistakes(I don’t think anyone does.), but I’ve learned to view mistakes in a different way. It helps to remind myself of mistakes I’ve made in the past that haven’t stopped me from reaching a particular goal, but instead have served as learning opportunities to do the job better or even more easily.

Remember what Michael Jordan said as he embraced his imperfections: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Woman holding her hands up
Andrea Piacquadio at Pexels

3. Practice Self-Compassion…

Be kind to yourself and treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a close friend. Recognize that perfectionism is not a personality trait or disorder, but rather a learned behavior that can be unlearned with practice and patience.

Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome: Perfectionists often place too much emphasis on the outcome and not enough on the process. Instead of focusing on the end result, focus on the steps you need to take to get there. Celebrate your progress along the way, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you encounter setbacks.

4. Take Breaks…

Perfectionists often push themselves to the limit, which can lead to burnout and exhaustion. It’s important to take breaks and engage in self-care activities, such as exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones. This will help you recharge and come back to your tasks with renewed energy and focus. Many people, including me, report better performance after taking breaks and practicing self-care.

Framed Saying "Self Care Isn't Selfish"
Madison Inouye at Pexels

5. Seek Support For Overcoming Perfectionism…

If you’re struggling with perfectionism and anxiety, it may be helpful to seek support from a therapist or support group. A mental health professional can offer a safe and supportive environment for exploring and challenging negative thought patterns, gaining insight into underlying causes of perfectionism, and learning healthy coping strategies to manage anxiety and stress.

I have found the help of a therapist to be invaluable. At one time, I felt that it was a weakness to consult a therapist, so I avoided it for many years, however, over time, I have come to realize that seeking therapy is actually a strength. It allowed me to overcome beliefs that were holding me back from being my happiest, healthiest self.

Two Women Talking

Overcoming perfectionism is a process that takes time and practice, but it’s worth it for the sake of your mental health and well-being. By setting realistic expectations, practicing self-compassion, focusing on the process, taking breaks, and seeking support, you can learn to let go of perfectionism and reduce anxiety in your life. Remember, you are not alone. Many people struggle with perfectionism. With time and effort, you can learn to manage your perfectionism by shifting your focus towards self-acceptance and growth rather than unrealistic expectations and constant self-criticism.

Check out these recent posts from Chasing Beans…

References:

Elizabeth Scott, https://www.verywellmind.com/signs-you-may-be-a-perfectionist-3145233

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