So there’s the thing about us perfectionists . . .
On the surface, we are hell-bent on staying away from flaws. Just consider Beyonce’s song ‘Flawless‘ to be our anthem.
But underneath this distaste for imperfections, many folks that consider themselves to be perfectionists face a number of barriers to being compassionate, loving and caring to themselves.
Perfectionists are often hard-working, determined people. If you are a perfectionist, you may be very detail-oriented in your personal and professional settings and have high expectations of yourself and others around you. It may even be fair to say that your perfectionist-vibes have contributed to the success you have now.
In the same breath, routinely working towards living a life that is flaw-free comes at a cost. Perfectionists can be incredibly hard on themselves, as you are not “allowed” to make a mistake. This high standard of living may include setting unrealistic expectations and engaging in self-critical thoughts.
And these consequences of perfectionism go deep. Many perfectionists experience mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression, due to this value of perfectionism. Self-sabotage, feelings of unworthiness, difficulty moving forward and struggles with completing tasks also show up when striving for perfection.
Yet, that’s one of the biggest problems with perfectionism in itself: it is virtually impossible to live a life without flaws. To dive all the way in, to be a person seeking perfection means seeking to not be . . . human. Because the human experience is choc-full of mistakes, accidents, flaws, inaccuracies and errors. To be flawed is one of the traits that all of us have in common.
Perfectionism, in all its faux glory, is a fear of being human.
So, what does self-care look like if you are all about flawlessness? Let’s take a look at these ideas on how to accept your whole self:
Put a question mark on the end of self-deprecating thoughts.
If you notice that you regularly say or think negative, hurtful things about yourself/your humanness, change that period into a question mark.
Start questioning the negative thoughts that come up for you. This practice can help interrupt self-criticism and strengthen your ability to self-reflect.
Instead of “I can’t do anything right.” try “I can’t do anything right?”
You’ll find yourself answering these questions with “Well no, I can definitely do this, this and this right . . .”. With practice, you be more mindful of when hurtful thoughts come your way and naturally be more caring to yourself in the process.
Learn more about the power of self-compassion.
I am 99% sure that self-compassion is the antidote to perfectionism. Self-compassion is the ability to recognize, care and accept your whole-self, flaws and all. In becoming self-compassionate, you can become more understanding of yourself and the mistakes that you will (inevitably) make.
But like questioning self-deprecating thoughts, these changes to perfectionism come with time and patience. Start by learning more about what self-compassion is and self-study how this mindset could help you accept your humanness.
Try. Try. And try again.
There is a certain “stuckness” that comes with striving for perfection. Sometimes, you may feel like a task is not completed until it is “perfect”. Or that everything needs to be just right before you can move forward.
When you feel that stuckness holding you back from going to that new yoga class or starting you business social media page, I want you to safely push forward and try. See self-care ideas #1 and #2 for support with this, but truly, push past your fear of not getting it right or not doing something perfectly. Just trying puts yourself that much closer to getting where you want to be. Stuckness leaves you . . . well, stuck.
In making these changes, try journaling, recording or leaving yourself voice memos on your progress. There are going to be ups and downs on your journey of accepting your whole self. (And guess what? That’s normal and okay.) You are so worth taking that first step towards true self-love. I hope you will start today. 🙂
What self-care ideas do you have for perfectionists?