Are You A Slave To Perfectionism?
Does everyone know you as the person who makes magazine-worthy cakes for any occasion? Or as the one who makes absolute picture- perfect crafts and decorations for every single holiday? Is your energy always spent on keeping a spotless home, perfectly starched and folded clothes, or a car that’s so clean you could eat off of it?
Some people are born perfectionists and they love being that way, they get joy from having everything in their lives be in flawless condition. Others, however, feel a sort of social demand to be perfectionists.
They often find themselves struggling to keep up with the requirements that they put on themselves. It’s not unusual for them to feel like they are 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, which of the two categories above do you fall in? Do you feel like all your time and energy is being channeled into making everything look perfect and feel the happiest when doing so? 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 a perfectionist is hurting you more than it is helping 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:
Is a lot of your time and mental energy spent on making unrealistic standards and expectations? Do you know when you’re planning things that what you’re asking of yourself is almost impossible for normal people, but attempt to do it anyways?
If you constantly find yourself frustrated, let down, or angry with the results of something you took so much time to plan and that didn’t work out the way you had hoped, you may need to examine whether your standards are at all realistic.
When you expect unrealistic things from yourself, you’re asking yourself to go above and beyond what is possible. When you fail at the task, it eats you up inside and you get angry at yourself for not being able to do it. It’s self-sabotaging and 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 the act of overthinking something so much that you end up unable to do anything at all. This causes you to procrastinate things and can have negative consequences.
Take some time to really contemplate on the reasons that you find yourself unable to decide or react to things in a timely manner. More often than not, people learn that anxiety and fear are the main things holding them back from being able to make decisions. They are so afraid that they might make a “less than perfect” decision and are the consequences of that subpar decision fills them with anxiety.
They may be so unable to decide on things that they begin to rely on others to make decisions for them. That way, when the decision wasn’t the best one, they can’t be blamed for it. Learning to make your own decisions is the only way you can get further in life, don’t rely on others to know what’s best for you.
Another thing that perfectionists do is worry themselves sick over small, everyday interactions with people or simple tasks being asked of them. Some examples of this include, replaying a conversation you had with someone over and over again in your head, thinking of what you could have said differently or “better”. Or editing and rewriting emails in an obsessive manner, worrying that it still doesn’t sound as perfect as it could.
You 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 way to defend itself against troublesome and unpleasant stressors but it’s not a healthy lifestyle. It can end up causing you your sanity, your physical wellness, and can leave 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 the way people grow and evolve.
If you feel like you suffer from perfectionism and it affects you negatively, follow the advice below to help you change your mindset:
Reprogram Your Mind
In order to break out of your habits, you’re going to have to reprogram your mind and reset the unrealistic expectations that you put on yourself. This can be a difficult task and it’s important that you take your time and be kind to yourself during this process.
Keep reminding yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that perfection is not possible 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 that you’re asking your mother to bake your son some cupcakes that look like little puppies for his birthday. Envision your mother agreeing to help you and showing up to your house with the cupcakes, BUT, they aren’t all perfect looking. Some of them have mismatched ears, some of them have eyes spaced too far apart, different sized noses, etc.
Think about what your reaction to these cupcakes and your mother would be. Would you be angry and upset with her? Or would you just appreciate that she made the effort and your son loves them just the same?
Now put yourself in your mothers place and start appreciating yourself and all your efforts. Don’t be angry at yourself when things don’t go as flawlessly as you had expected them to. Do the best you can and don’t worry yourself over perfection.
A lot of times, changing your perspective can help you see any situation in a positive way. When you look at a situation with more understanding and optimistic set of eyes, you can see that your expectations and standards are way too high for everyday people. A lot of times, people feel the need to be a perfectionist because they feel like people will judge them if they’re not perfect.
This is really your own self-esteem talking to you, or your lack rather. You feel like you aren’t worthy of praise and attention unless you’re absolutely flawless. Did your parents use to berate you when you were younger and made mistakes? Did a relationship end once because they thought you weren’t doing the best job you could do?
All of these thoughts can be hurting you and driving you to seek perfection. Change your perspective about them by realizing that those are not YOUR thoughts, but rather OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS. Don’t base your self-worth on anyone but yourself. Love yourself unconditionally and without limit.
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 that you’ll stop taking care of your responsibilities, or that you’ll be living in a filthy and rundown home! There is a difference between caring way 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 caring 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 the words and remember them easier. You can start by analyzing everyday tasks that you do.
Write down the task at hand, write down how the perfectionist in you expects it look, then write down how that makes you feel. Next, write down how you would expect that task to look if you didn’t care AT ALL about the results and how that would make you feel.
Finally, think of what an action in between those two looks like and write that down. When thinking about this third one, it helps to again imagine 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 in an acceptable manner.
It’s possible that you’ve lived with your perfectionist mentality for so long because you’ve been under the impression that it allows you to do things the best way possible. But in reality, this quest for perfection might very well be limiting and hurting you instead.
Unrealistic expectations could keep you from taking action in your life and accomplishing your dreams. If you’ve tried to stop being a perfectionist but haven’t been able to, it’s ok to reach out for help!
Consulting an online psychic is a great way to discover any underlying issues that may be pushing you to be this hard on yourself. A reading with a talented psychic can help you identify and correct these problems.