“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we’ll ever do.” – Brene Brown
Do you love yourself as you are, or do you constantly feel as though you are not good enough?
We live in a society that values things that appear perfect. We learn early on that we are rewarded for performance, success, achievement, being good enough, looking good enough, doing enough.
But as human beings, we can never reach a state of perfection because we are a work in progress. Perfection indicates a a finished product – but we as humans are always growing and evolving. Perfection suggests that there is an ultimate best, right standard that we should attain.
What is Perfectionism?
Perfectionism relates to holding oneself to extremely high, often unrealistic, standards, and a belief that everything we do should be as free from fault or defect as humanly possible.
Many people view perfectionism as a positive attribute. They believe the more “perfect” they are, the more success they will have in life. The illusion is that perfect means being successful, recognized, valued and loved. It’s as if being perfect can save us from our fears and other less than pleasant human emotions.
Note that perfectionism is NOT the same thing as always doing your best. Instead, it takes this concept to the extreme.
People with perfectionist tendencies often have self-defeating thoughts and/or behaviors that actually make it HARDER to achieve their goals. Perfectionism also can make us feel stressed, anxious, discouraged and depressed.
Signs to Look For
Most human beings, from time to time, will strive for perfectionism in some aspect of their life. For example, achieving a “perfectly moist chocolate cake” is an example of trying to get everything JUST RIGHT as a gift for someone’s birthday. But if it’s not perfect, does it mean that the gift is not meaningful or appreciated? Can we accept imperfection without feeling a sense of failure, or putting ourselves down?
Here are some signs you may be a perfectionist:
• You don’t like to attempt tasks or activities unless you feel you can complete them perfectly.
• You are end-oriented, meaning you focus little on the process of creating or learning something and put all of the emphasis on the outcome.
• You cannot see a task as having been completed unless it meets your perfectionist standards.
• You tend to procrastinate because you don’t like starting a task until you know you can perfectly complete it.
• You tend to take far longer completing tasks than others. This can be problematic at work.
• You have overly negative thoughts and feelings if you fail to meet your ideal standard.
• You never feel good enough. You feel shame when ‘falling short’.
Again, perfectionism is not the same thing as doing your best. It is a condition whereby an individual is almost incapable of feeling joy or pride at what they accomplish because in their own minds, they are never quite good enough.
If you believe you may have traits of perfectionism and it is causing you stress, there are things you can do to change your thinking and behavior so you can live a healthier and happier life.
If you’d like some help and support with this, please reach out to me..
Quotes to Reflect On
“My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents.”- Mahatma Gandhi.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”- Anna Quindlen
“Perfection is found in accepting your imperfections.”- Bridgett Devoue
“People call these things imperfections, but they’re not, that’s the good stuff. And then we get to choose who we let into our weird little worlds.”- ‘Good Will Hunting’.
“The more perfect we are the more gentle and quiet we become towards the defects of others.”- Joseph Addison.
“You were born to be real not to be perfect. You are here to be you, not to live someone else’s life.”- Ralph Marston.
“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”- Marilyn Monroe.
“Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us perfect for one another.” -Jane Austin