I am a perfectionist. I don’t think I was as a child, but as I grew older, I became preoccupied with doing things “right.” It wasn’t just about doing my best. Rather, it was about making sure it was perfect, whatever “it” was, a school assignment, a work project, or a hobby. It had to look perfect, feel perfect, and be perfect.
The problem is there no such thing as perfection. It doesn’t exist. We all have flaws and everything around us has flaws. There is beauty and uniqueness in flaws. But, telling that to a perfectionist only gets them to roll their eyes.
When we see items arranged in exact geometric shapes, we are afraid to touch them- it’s like a museum. When we see things
Why Perfectionism is Harmful
Perfectionism can weigh us down with fear, make us feel constantly dissatisfied with what we do, have us obsess over the little things, and make us neglect ourselves, our health, and our self-interest (Fishel, n
Striving for perfection could consume me at the cost of my sleep, nourishment, or other commitments. It caused me stress and prevented me from caring for myself.
How to Overcome Perfectionism
My strategy in overcoming anything we’re dealing with, whether it be perfectionism or something else, is asking a series of questions to uncover the roots of the behavior and identify possible solutions.
Why Do You Feel the Need for Perfection?
Consider the root of perfectionism. What drives your desire for perfection?
Then consider, in what ways can you value yourself? Think of all the successes you’ve had and all that you have done well, even when it wasn’t perfect. What have you learned? What have you gained?
Where Does the Need Come From?
Consider your beliefs surrounding perfectionism. Why do you feel it is important to be a perfectionist?
For instance, I have a tendency to think in terms of black and white, which some call the all-or-nothing fallacy, and is when we believe
What happens if there was a gray area? How would things be if there were
Consider that there are always solutions. Even when there is failure or when things do not turn out as we planned or hoped for, there is always a way out, a way to turn it around, or a way to start over. The world doesn’t end because things don’t turn out how we wanted. When we fail, we learn, and we grow.
Redefine what success means (Fishel, n
I found an article that lists 10 tips to overcome perfectionism including developing confidence, eliminating goals, overcoming negativity, and eliminating over-thinking among others (Cretu, 2019).
Beware of The Little Voice
We also need to handle the voice inside our head. It’s that little voice that is nagging, doubtful, fearful, and critical. It is hard to handle, yet it is important to address it when easing perfectionism.
The best way to deal with it is to talk back to it. When we catch ourselves saying
Think about these questions,
Cretu, C. (2019). How to overcome perfectionism: 10 tips to stop beat yourself up and
Fishel, B. (n