Earlier this week I was perusing my daughter’s Facebook page and ran across an article she had linked to titled “14 Signs Your Perfectionism Has Gotten Out Of Control.” Her comment was, “It’s kind of tragic/hilarious how many of these apply to me.” After I read the article I was somewhat depressed because I realized that sadly my daughter has inherited some of my perfectionistic tendencies.
Then two days ago I was watching the Today Show and they had a segment on “how to be a not-so-perfect perfectionist” and how to keep it from ruining your holidays. Once again it struck a chord with me and I realized that this was some advice I needed to take to heart. Especially this time of year.
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For example, I spent so much of my day yesterday trying to make Thanksgiving Dinner “perfect” for my son who has celiacs disease that I ended up practically ruining the day for myself. So the minute I got back from my Mom’s house I started working on this post….more for myself than anyone else. But hopefully some of you will get some benefit out of it as well.
Perfectionists set standards that are impossibly high and believe they are worthless if they can’t meet them. This often leads to discouragement, self-doubt and exhaustion, and it is at the core of many mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, marital problems, workaholism, procrastination, insomnia and suicide.
Yikes! That’s no way to live! Here are 11 ways to………….
Give Perfectionism A Holiday This Year:
#1. Ask Yourself What You’re Afraid Of
At its root, perfectionism isn’t really about a deep love of being meticulous. It’s about fear. Fear of making a mistake. Fear of disappointing others. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Think about it.
Once you’ve isolated the fear, confront it head-on. Often when you stare fear straight in the eye, it miraculously loses its power. And you’re left free to work productively.
#2. Stop Wasting Time
Sometimes it’s hard to know when you’ve crossed the line from conscientious to compulsive. Set a reasonable time limit to complete tasks. If you run out of time, no matter the point you are at, stop and switch to a different task. This will serve as an alarm that your perfectionist tendencies may be taking over and reduces the procrastination that typically results.
#3. Trust in Yourself
Insecurity is a component of fear. And fear, as we know, is the driving force behind perfectionism. Remind yourself of the people who have responded favorably to you and/or your work in the past.
#4. Accept That You Are Human
Everything and everyone has flaws and things don’t always go as planned. And realize that you won’t be rejected if things or you aren’t perfect.
Keep your standards high but be realistic. Settle for as good as can be in the time available.You can still improve things but they will never be perfect.
#5. Compare Yourself To Yourself
Comparing yourself to other people on a regular basis can easily lead to feeling inferior. There will always be a lot of people ahead of you in any area of life. So compare yourself to yourself. See your improvement, see how far you have come. Appreciate yourself and focus what you have done and are doing rather than what everyone else is doing.
#6. Shades Of Gray
Learn to think in shades of gray instead of black or white. Perfectionists tend to think anything less than 100% is zero. Over-simplified all-or-nothing thinking isn’t an accurate way to evaluate life. Sometimes the brightest people do the dumbest things.
#7. Treating Yourself The Way You Treat Others
Many perfectionists are much harder on themselves than they are on anyone else. Try to not hold yourself to higher standards than you have for other people. By being more realistic about expectations of yourself, you ease stress and anxiety and realize that the world will not come to an end.
#8. Embrace Imperfection
As much as you wish you could be…. you are NOT perfect. You will make mistakes. Instead of fearing them, learn from them and move on. Mistakes are opportunities for personal growth. They are not the end of the world. In fact, they might be the beginning of a new one. You never know what might come from an idea gone awry. Did you know the chocolate chip cookie was created by accident? I rest my case!
#9. Give Yourself Credit
Instead of focusing on the things you haven’t achieved, focus on all the little accomplishments and milestones you have accomplished on your path to achieving your goals. Success is a journey, not a destination.
#10. Learn How To Deal With Criticism
Perfectionists often view criticism as a personal attack, responding to it defensively. Concentrate on being more objective about the criticism and about yourself. If someone criticizes you for making a mistake, acknowledge the mistake and assert your right to make mistakes.
#11. Accept That Perfection Doesn’t Exist
Perfection is neither attainable nor desirable. It keeps us in a state of high anxiety, worrying over how we’ll never live up to someone else’s expectations (or even our own).
Give your perfectionism a permanent “holiday” and you’ll be happier, more productive and better able to ENJOY the season…and all year long!
How do you put perfectionism in its’ place?