In society, and particularly in some cultures, it is often celebrated and viewed as an essential driving force for success. Although it can also be a destructive force that has the power to bring down your self-esteem if you’re unable to reach the high (and sometimes unrealistic) standards you have set yourself.
Here are three things you can immediately do to stop living in a world of perfection.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others
You probably have had some pretty amazing successes in your life. Perhaps it’s the birth of your beautiful child, the achievements in your career, or the fact that you have traveled the world and experienced cultures and events beyond your wildest dream.
But there’s still a nagging feeling deep inside. That feeling is telling you that it’s not enough. This emotion is often perpetuated by comparing yourself to others who seemingly have more, causing you to feel inferior, tarnishing your self-esteem.
However the chances are, there will always be someone that is better looking than you, more successful or better traveled. So continually comparing yourself to every person who appears to be better than you is a game you’ll never win.
So how do you overcome this? Remind yourself of your achievements whenever you find yourself feeling inadequate, and start comparing yourself to your marvelous self.
Try asking yourself: “What have I done that’s amazing?”
Imagine the reaction on your 15-year-old self’s face if you were to tell them of all your achievements. Wouldn’t they be proud? Therefore…shouldn’t you be proud? The answer to this is probably a resounding “yes”.
2. Don’t be stuck in the perfectionist rut
Habits can be incredibly hard to shift. But recognizing you have a bad habit is the first step in changing it.
Try asking yourself “What will my life look like in 10 years if I continue to set the same standards for myself and for others?”
With most of us being in pursuit of happiness, it might be a fair assumption to make that you will not be completely happy if your need for perfection is unsatisfied. Start to imagine what the consequences of this will be to yourself. What do you see? An image of an older you still with self-esteem issues? Or perhaps an older burnt out version of you?
If you do not like what you see, take action to change your mindset and assess the areas of your life where you have placed unrealistic expectations.
While it’s crucial to have goals and set the bar high, it’s just as important to praise yourself for what you have achieved and be your own cheerleader…and not an overbearing coach.
3. Stop living in a world filled with perfection
Perfection is favored in many facets in society. It’s portrayed as being the pinnacle of success in beauty magazines, and equally slated when a model or celebrity is seen with an ounce of cellulite or anything that’s not in line with airbrushed perfection.
It’s also encouraged by schoolteachers and throughout our education system, and sometimes by our families too. Therefore, it’s little wonder we grow up expecting we need to be flawless in every sense of the word.
But how do you overcome this? One way is to eliminate the amount of “perfection” you surround yourself with.
For example, if you find that celebrity magazines make you feel unattractive, stop buying them. This is especially important if you have teenagers, because you can help stop them from placing the same expectation on their already overly conscious bodies, while helping your own.
Another way is to spend more time with people who are looking to improve themselves, but doing so in a positive and healthy way. This will help you become more humble about your own achievements and goals, and will give you an example of a healthier way to live.
These are just a few examples of how you can overcome perfectionism, and how life with a few scratches and flaws can still be a fulfilling one. Tell us below if you have overcome any negative perfectionist behavior, and what was the “aha!” moment that made you change.