Perfection anxiety happens when we put pressure and expectation on ourselves, when perceived ability to cope is less than demands. It can have an effect on confidence and self-esteem, causing all those symptoms set out in my other posts on anxiety here.
One of the causes of perfection anxiety is a fear of not being good enough, so what can we do in the short-term to reassure ourselves? Do you remember re-framing from this earlier post?
Here are some of the themes and re-frames I sometimes work into therapy with perfectionists and perfectionism, if you struggle with needing to be perfect, why not try them on for size…?
First, you don’t have to be perfect, nobody else is. Remember the old saying, “Never judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes?” – that’s the point, no matter how much ‘perfect’ we project onto someone else, from the inside their world is probably every bit as difficult as everyone else’s, and if you don’t believe me, just ask them.
After all, how many ‘perfect’ celebrities with their perfect bodies, houses, partners and lives have you seen end up in rehab, the divorce courts or worse?
Second, there is no perfect way of doing anything. As we get older, this becomes an easier concept to grasp but there really are many ways to achieve a specific goal in life. What’s also important is to realise that the getting there is part of the process, and often the fun.
Think about a goal you set yourself, maybe an education or fitness course or saving for something. I expect that when you got there, it was different from how you imagined it at the beginning, that the journey changed you as much as the goal.
Next, if you’re not doing something as well as you’d like, just accept it. Sometimes trying harder increases the pressure on you, makes you miserable and hurts your performance. You won’t be good at everything all the time, sometimes you’ll struggle or fail. If you study the lives of successful people, you’ll find that failing is a vital part of how they succeeded.
Be sure to catch the second part of this blog for more resources to use today to relieve perfectionism.