"Perfectionism is a killer of the soul"- Dr. B; Founder of The Center for Change
I have come light years in overcoming my Eating Disorder but something I am still working at overcoming is perfectionism. Something that I have found helpful is to write down everyday at least one thing that I did good that day. Those who struggle with perfectionism often never give themselves credit for what they do because they never think it is enough. I have learned that as I consciously celebrate my good efforts I am more aware of the positive things I do instead of focusing on the negatives. Trying to focus on the positive in life, myself & others is a powerful antidote for perfectionism. It's uplifting, and encouraging to notice the good I do instead of constantly thinking I am not good enough. That, I think, is against the essence of the gospel. A talk I heard in church one time really explained perfectionism well. The speaker said that perfectionist constantly focus in on the gap between who they are and the perfect person think they should be. I had never identified the "gap" before that talk but now that I am aware of it I can consciously take my focus off of it and instead appreciate where I am at right now. The speaker than went on to say how the savior makes up for the gap. Perfect people don't need a savior. We will never be perfect in this life. Our best is enough, because we do have a savior and he makes all the difference. So for now I will place my hope and faith in Christ, celebrate my good efforts, and remember its a journey of progress not perfection.
Types of Perfectionism:
Physical: Think they must have a perfect face or figure to be desirable and appealing
Achievement: Feel it would be detrimental to make a mistake, or fail, or to fall short of a personal goal in their career or studies
Perceived: Believe that they have to impress people to be liked and respected. They are convinced that others will look down on them if they fail, look foolish, or make a mistake
Emotional: Feel ashamed of negative and vulnerable feelings such as loneliness, depressions, anger, anxiety, or panic. They believe that others would not accept and love them if they knew how hey really feel inside. They may believe that they should always feel happy and in control of their emotions.
Self Esteem: believe they aren't sufficiently worthwhile. They feel inferior to people who are more intelligent, attractive, or successful
Relationship: believe that people who care for each other should never fight or argue. They avoid conflicts in personal relationships, thinking they should always get along with everyone.
Romantic: Find it difficult to form lasting intimate relationships because other people are never quite good enough for them. They become preoccupied with the shortcomings of others.
Entitlement: quite demanding and get extremely upset when other people do not measure up to their expectations. They may get excessively angry or frustrated if a train is late, if traffic is slow, or if others do not treat them with sufficient respect.
Obsessive-Compulsive: feel their house must always be immaculate and they spend excessive amounts of time cleaning, organizing, checking things, counting, or doing other rituals.
What to do about Perfectionism:
1. Strive for excellence not perfection
2. Make a list of the advantages and disadvantages of trying to be perfect
3. Increase your awareness of all-or-nothing or black and white thinking, try to intentionally live more in the grey.
4. Set strict time limits on each of your projects
5. Set realistic and reachable goals
6. Use feelings of Anxiety and depression to ask yourself, "Have I set up unrealistic expectations for myself?"
7. Recognize that many positive things can only be learned by making mistakes. When you make a mistake instead of getting angry with yourself, ask yourself "what can I learn from this?"
8. Don't hold others to a standard of perfectionism. Be more understanding, forgiving and loving towards others and you will start feeling that way towards yourself.
9. Learn how to deal with criticism. instead of viewing criticism as a personal attack and getting defensive acknowledge the mistake and assert your right to make mistakes. remind yourself is you stop making mistakes you stop learning and growing. Once you no longer buy into the fallacy that humans must be perfect to be worthwhile, you won't feel so angry or defensive when you make a mistake. Criticism will then seem like a natural thing from which to learn, rather then something to be avoided at all costs.
10. Be satisfied with a 95%, rather than a 100%, standard of accomplishment
11. Recognize that perfection is not attainable
12. Meet others halfway
13. Don't expect to be a super parent. You can be a very very good parent but let yourself be human. Let your kids see that your human so they know its okay for them to be human. Don't hide your emotions from them. Remember there are no positive or negative emotions. Emotions are just information. Like when an infant cries because they need changed. Your emotions are just telling you you need something. Let your kids know its okay to feel every emotion.
14. Remember that you cannot please everyone; cannot be all things to all people. "I do not know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to please everybody"
Positive Affirmations for perfectionists:
I will be patient with myself
It is better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing flawlessly
Sometimes we stumble to keep us from falling
I am not being controlled by this situation, I have choices
It's just a reality check not a moral judgement
I am worth being loved and my love is worth having
Positive change doesn't occur when you're comfortable
I am not my body. When I strip away my appearance and achievements do I like whats left?
You have so much to offer the world, and so much to give, don't hold back
Life is not happening to you, you're creating it so create what you want, live with intent
You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy
"Think the best of each other, especially those you say you love. Assume the good and doubt the bad" -Elder Holland
Take care of this moment and my life will take care of itself
Let people get to know ALL of me
I am awesome right now. But I can be better. I want to become who I can be so I will strive to do so. But I am just fine right now and all along the way. I am imperfect and striving.
I will not deprive the world of myself
We don't have to be perfect to be happy, we only have to be positive to be happy!
To escape criticism- do nothing, be nothing, say nothing.
Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that snag best.
When you aim for perfection you discover its a moving target
There is little room for compassion, appreciation and connection with perfectionism
Pat yourself on half your back
"when I focus on all the things I'm not I miss out on all the things I already am" -unknown