Perfectionism is built on such an alluring idea. That we all have the capacity to somehow become a perfect version of ourselves - more kind, successful, attractive, intelligent, the list goes on. But there's a fundamental problem with the idea of attaining perfection. It's an impossible standard to achieve. So not only is it an exhausting and relentless endeavour. But it sets us up for failure. And in trying to achieve perfection, ironically, we end up feeling worse about ourselves. I spoke to Happiful all about how to try and break free from perfectionism. Click here for the full article, and read on for some of my tips on breaking free from perfectionism. If you'd like to think more about perfectionism, you might like my previous blog post. Click here to read all about how social media is fuelling our drive for perfection.
Tips for breaking free from perfectionism
In the short term, there are a number of techniques that you can try to combat your perfectionist behaviours:
Set yourself specific timeframes for individual tasks. When it’s done, it’s done, and see how it feels to live with the consequences. This has the added benefit of also targeting something else that perfectionists often struggle with: procrastination.
Keep a ‘perfectionism’ thought diary. You might feel as if perfectionism permeates every aspect of every day. But when you record it, you may notice patterns. Are there particular tasks or triggers that spur your actions? You may even notice a link around lifestyle factors. Do you notice that your perfectionism is more powerful when you are tired, or you haven’t been looking after yourself?
Be proactive about activities that keep you present and mindful in everyday life. This is great for helping us to maintain perspective on what we are doing, and to keep our expectations realistic. This might involve stepping away from screens or social media, or taking time out to think about your breathing or exercise.
In the longer term, I believe it’s important to explore the root causes of perfectionism, so that we can look in-depth at our core beliefs about ourselves. How were these formed, and are they still valid, or can we consider challenging them? Often perfectionism is rooted in the messages that we received in childhood, particularly if perfectionism and achievement were the ways in which we elicited the attention and affection of those around us.
If you'd like to think more about perfectionism, you might like my previous blog post. Click here to read all about how social media is fuelling our drive for perfection.
Keen to explore more? In counselling we can take a deeper look at how you feel about yourself, and how it impacts on your daily life. Click here to contact me, or click here to book a 30-minute introductory call.