Perfectionism is the unrealistic desire to be perfect. It’s debilitating and kills productivity. It kills self-confidence. Perfectionism makes it hard to effectively work in a team, including a family unit. Perfectionism is off putting and defeats all those around the perfectionist. It’s totally demoralizing.
You might be a perfectionist if you often don’t feel satisfied with anything in your life. You can easily spout off all the things that are not quite “right,” but struggle to express what is going just fine.
For the non-perfectionist person, if they see pictures in a home life magazine, they may feel inspired or motivated to incorporate a few things from what they saw into their life. However, a perfectionist will look at the same pictures and feel an initial excitement and then eventually feel terrible because her home doesn’t look like the magazine. She will feel like a failure for not having that picture-perfect house.
I’m a total perfectionist. It’s a tendency I am actively releasing because it serves no one.
Here are a few strategies to release perfectionism.
1. Take stock of how perfectionism is negatively affecting your life
We live in a society that sends mixed messages about perfectionism. In many aspects, perfectionism is glorified. “Type A” personalities and perfectionists are depicted in a positive light. However, no one really wins when a woman is a perfectionist. In fact, perfectionism may be causing you to avoid having conversations with people for fear of saying the wrong thing, to delay starting projects for fear of not doing them the right way, to feel horrible about what you have because it’s never good enough, to obsessively replay the past - mulling over what you should have done, to procrastinate and generally feel like you’re not good enough. What other ways is perfectionism negatively affecting you?
Once you take stock of all the areas of life that perfectionism is affecting you, you can become clear about the commitment to releasing it.
2. Acknowledge your progress
Perfectionism will lead you to desire the right outcome or end game. It leads you to ignore progress. It disallows you to enjoy the journey or learning process.
Acknowledging your progress and taking pride in learning, growing and traveling the journey of life will move you into a state of gratitude instead of one of feeling lack and dissatisfaction.
Let’s say that you’re trying to lose weight. You may have a number or size in mind. Perfectionist mindset will have you lamenting if you haven’t reached the end goal. Having a self-compassion mindset will celebrate the fact that you went to the gym, celebrate the fact that you got your heart rate up, celebrate the fact that you’ve been drinking more water and celebrate the fact that you’re having fun on your way to losing the weight.
3. Embrace being unique
Perfectionism causes you to compare yourself to outside forces including imaginary ideal scenarios. It’s impossible to measure up. This leaves you feeling like crap.
Instead, honor the unique qualities that God gave you. Study and learn yourself. Instead of always trying to adapt yourself to outside forces, try accepting yourself as is and adapt outside forces within your sphere of influence to you.
The more you honor who you are, the more compassion, joy and gratitude you will feel.
4. Take the smallest, next logical step towards your desires
A perfectionist procrastinates because the perfectionist mindset is that everything has to be perfect before any move can be made. The perfectionist feels like a failure most of the time.
If you want to visit Africa, you can save $25 a month towards the trip, start researching plane tickets, download the passport application and join a travel group online for support. A trip to Africa may be a large endeavor, yet, there are many small steps that can be taken towards this goal. Rejoice in the small steps because they build momentum and show the Universe your true desires. Then, the Universe can have your back and help you realize your desires.
Nothing is perfect. Good enough is good enough most of the time. Strive for progress and not perfection. I wish death to the shackles of perfectionism. Let freedom ring.
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Sis. Freya is the creator of RootMama. She loves encouraging women to achieve greatness.
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