Does everyone know you as the person who makes magazine-worthy cakes for every occasion? Or as the one who makes picture-perfect crafts and decorations for every holiday?
Is your energy always spent on keeping a spotless home, perfectly starched and folded clothes, or a car so clean you could eat off it? Some people are born perfectionists. They love being that way and enjoy having everything in their lives flawless.
Others, however, feel a social demand to be perfectionists and often struggle to attain the requirements they put on themselves. It’s not unusual for them to feel like they’re bursting at the seams and could explode at any second from the pressure of trying to keep up a perfect appearance.
Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? If so, in which of the two categories do you fall? Do you feel happiest when channeling all your time and energy into making everything look perfect? Or do you feel like you’re running yourself ragged, trying to make everything appear flawless for outsiders looking in?
If you’re in the second category, you might want to evaluate whether your need to be perfect hurts you more than it helps you. If making sure that everything in your life is immaculate fills you with fear and dread instead of making you feel proud and satisfied, it’s time you ask yourself the questions below:
Do You Have Unrealistic Expectations?
Is your time and mental energy spent on making unrealistic standards and expectations? When planning things, are you aware that what you’re asking of yourself is almost impossible for ordinary people, but attempt to do it anyway? Do you constantly feel frustrated, let down, or angry with the results of something you took so much time to plan, only to not work out how you’d hoped?
If so, you may need to examine whether your standards are realistic. When you expect unrealistic things from yourself, you ask yourself to go above and beyond what’s possible. When you fail, it eats you up inside, and you get angry at yourself for not accomplishing it. It’s self-sabotaging, and it isn’t good for you.
Do You Find It Extremely Difficult To Make Decisions?
Do you constantly find yourself suffering from “analysis paralysis?” Analysis paralysis is overthinking something so much that you cannot do anything. This paralysis causes you to procrastinate things and can have negative consequences. Contemplate why you can’t promptly decide on or react to things. Often, people learn that anxiety and fear are the main things holding them back from being able to make decisions.
They’re so afraid of making a “less than perfect” decision, and the consequence of that subpar decision gives them anxiety. They may be so unable to decide that they rely on others to decide for them. They do this so that when the decision isn’t the best, they can’t be blamed for it. Learning to make your own decisions is the only way to get further in life, don’t rely on others to know what’s best for you.
Do Small, Everyday Tasks Give You Anxiety?
Another thing perfectionists do is worry themselves sick over small, everyday interactions with people or simple tasks asked of them. Some examples include replaying a conversation with someone repeatedly in your head, thinking of what you could have said differently or “better.” Another is obsessively editing or rewriting emails, worrying that they still don’t sound as perfect as possible. You may need to change your mindset when everyday communication with others becomes a source of nerves and anxiety.
Being a perfectionist could be your body’s natural defense against troubling and unpleasant stressors, but it’s not a healthy lifestyle. It can cost you your sanity and physical wellness, leaving you with more problems than it solves. It can result in you hiding from and avoiding challenges and obstacles instead of trying, failing, learning from your mistake, and trying again until you succeed, which is how people grow and evolve.
How To Stop Perfectionism From Negatively Affecting You
Reprogram Your Mind
To break out of your habits, you’ll have to reprogram your mind and reset the unrealistic expectations you put on yourself. Reprogramming can be difficult, and you must take your time and be kind to yourself during this process. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and that perfection is impossible for anyone. Think about somebody you love and care about for a few minutes. Now, mentally assign them a task you need them to help you with.
For example, imagine you’re asking your mother to bake your son some puppy cupcakes for his birthday. Envision your mother agreeing to help you and showing up at your house with the cupcakes, BUT they aren’t all perfect looking. Some have mismatched ears; others have eyes spaced too far apart; some have different-sized noses, etc. Think about your reaction to these cupcakes and your mother.
Would you be angry and upset with her? Or would you appreciate that she made an effort and your son loves them just the same? Now put yourself in your mother’s place and start appreciating yourself and all your efforts. Please don’t be angry at yourself when things don’t go as flawlessly as you expected them to. Do the best you can, and don’t stress over perfection.
See Things In A Different Perspective
A lot of times, changing your perspective can help you see any situation positively. Looking at a problem with a more understanding and optimistic mindset, you can see that your expectations and standards are too high for everyday people. Often, people feel the need to be a perfectionist because they feel like people will judge them if they aren’t perfect.
This feeling is your self-esteem talking to you, or your lack thereof. You feel you aren’t worthy of praise and attention unless you’re flawless. Did your parents use to scold you when you were younger and made mistakes? Did a relationship end once because they thought you weren’t doing the best job possible? These thoughts can hurt you and drive you to seek perfection.
Change your perspective about them by realizing that those are not YOUR thoughts but OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS. Don’t base your self-worth on anyone but yourself. Love yourself unconditionally and without limits. Once you realize what’s been driving your quest for perfection, you’ll be able to see what attainable expectations look like and can work on healthier behaviors.
Find A Good Middle Ground
Going from being a perfectionist to a ‘regular’ person doesn’t mean you’ll stop caring for your responsibilities or live in a filthy and rundown home! There’s a difference between caring too much and not caring at all. Ideally, you want to be in the middle. You still need to care about things and keep your life running smoothly, but not care so much to where you’re constantly stressing yourself out.
Block out some time for yourself where you can reframe your expectations and change unattainable ones into attainable ones. Write them down in a journal, as this helps you visualize and remember the words. You can start by analyzing the everyday tasks that you do. List the task, how the perfectionist in you expects it to look, and how that makes you feel.
Next, write down how you would expect that task to look if you didn’t care about the results and how that would make you feel. Finally, think of what an action between those two looks like and write that down. When thinking about this third one, it helps to imagine again someone you love is the one completing this task and what you would accept as a finished product from them.
Changing your standards should help free you from the chains of perfection while still letting you meet your obligations acceptably. You may have lived with your perfectionist mentality for so long because you’ve had the impression that it allows you to do things the best possible way. This quest for perfection might very well be limiting and hurting you instead.
Unrealistic expectations could keep you from taking action and accomplishing your dreams. If you’ve tried to stop being a perfectionist but haven’t been able to, reaching out for help is okay! Consulting an online psychic is a great way to discover any underlying issues pushing you to be this hard on yourself. A reading with a talented psychic can help you identify and correct these problems.