Are you someone who needs everything to be perfect and anything less than that is not acceptable? Do you find it hard to delegate tasks and often find yourself micro-managing instead? Do you live in constant fear of failure and criticism?
If all of this holds true, then you are a perfectionist and no, that is not something you should be proud of. It sure is healthy to want to succeed but the minute you start obsessing over it is when your approach gets toxic, and your mental health goes for a toss.
Get this straight – it is not okay to set unreasonably high standards for yourself and others. It’s also not okay to lose sleep over achieving perfectionism. Likewise, it’s not okay to have an ‘all or nothing’ approach to life. It is not okay to beat yourself over failures.
The universal truth is that nobody is perfect and the faster you embrace your imperfections, the better it is for your mental health and relationships.
Well, it’s never too late to change. Start taking baby steps today and practice these 5 ways to overcome perfectionism to be a happier person.
1. Challenge Your Expectations
The next time you find yourself being too harsh on yourself or reprimanding someone for not being ‘good enough,’ take a step back and challenge your expectations. Mmaybe the unrealistic goals you have set need re-evaluation.
There is a difference between challenging yourself and setting unachievable goals. The latter reeks of perfectionism and does not guarantee success, all it does is bring about disappointment and anxiety. So, start setting achievable goals, and you will realize how liberating that feels.
2. Let Go
Being a perfectionist, the concept of letting go is clearly alien to you. Whether it’s spending too much time on a particular task because it does not seem ‘perfect’ to you or being a micro-manager – you are unable to let go.
Understand that not everything is in our control, so stop trying to be a control freak. What you should focus on is doing your best. Don’t let your quest for perfection turn you into a miserable person.
Enjoy the process and leave the rest. The worst that will happen is that you will fail and that’s okay. Failure is the biggest teacher so stop being afraid of failing and learn from criticism.
3. Forgive Yourself
‘Forgive and forget’ – we have all been taught this since childhood but how many of us actually practice it on others and most importantly, on ourselves?
Yes, you didn’t secure that client you were gunning for, or you weren’t rewarded the ‘best performer’ in your team, but that does mean you beat yourself over it for weeks together. At some point, you need to forgive yourself and move on to focus on the more important things.
Not everything goes as planned every time but that does not mean you label yourself a ‘failure.’ By holding on to the pain, guilt, and shame, you are making it worse for yourself.
4. Focus on Making Progress
Instead of being part of a never-ending race while seeking perfection, you know what you should focus on? Making progress. If you think setting unrealistic goals will get you there, you are deeply mistaken.
You don’t realize that your obsession with being perfect is not allowing you to enjoy the journey and celebrate the small victories. It’s time to reflect on your wins, learn from your mistakes and motivate yourself to do better. Don’t get stuck on that one mistake – it’s only going to stop you from doing greater things.
5. Practice Self-Love
“I am such a failure,” “I can never do anything right,” “Why am I so unlucky?” – if conversations with yourself are along the same lines, you need to stop with all the self-loathing.
It’s no surprise that perfectionism, low self-esteem and self-loathing go hand in hand. So, it is very important to be careful about what we tell ourselves. Before we realize, the harshest statements we feed our brain repeatedly can become our reality.
Treat yourself with care and be mindful of what you tell yourself. Every time you have something negative to say, consciously change your approach. This small exercise goes a long way.