For those who have it, perfectionism can be a curse that is difficult to shake.
It causes us to hesitate when starting something, to second-guess ourselves during the process and to criticize ourselves once we’re done. That is, if we ever allow ourselves to finish in the first place.
Perfectionism is a common and individually toxic behavior, however, there’s a lot you can do to manage it and even get rid of it for good.
It’s a long-term process but it’s so worth it in the end. After all, you have no choice but to dismantle the curse of perfectionism. Otherwise, you risk dismantling yourself and your chance at both happiness and success in the process.
Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it’s about earning approval and acceptance.
Here’s how to dismantle the curse of perfectionism:
First, you need to create a system for dealing with perfectionism while you work on uprooting the cause in the backend.
To do that, start giving yourself a stopping point when you run into problems.
When you’re nearing the completion of a project and your perfectionism starts to flare up, pinpointing countless problems and stringing along the task, give yourself a specific, concrete amount of time to take action on those changes. Once that time is up, your hands are off it and you can no longer touch it.
Perfectionism is about a lack of self-belief, not a desire to create great work. Sorry, but it’s the truth.
Once you’ve put a hole in the leak, so to speak, and created a system for managing your perfectionism in the short term, you need to start uprooting the cause of that perfectionism. The first way to do it is to constantly remind yourself of past victories.
This can be done simply through memory, reviewing the positive words and comments of others about your work, and posting positive messages and reminders of things you’ve done a great job at on your bedroom and office wall.
The point is, you want to remind yourself regularly that you’re amazing and have all the ability in the world to do something incredible. The more you surround yourself with these reminders, the more you’ll begin to believe in yourself and stop second-guessing and criticizing.
Sometimes, our environment perpetuates a lack of belief which manifests into striving for perfectionism.
One of the most notable examples is in women’s publications, including everything from magazines to TV commercials, shows, and film. This is beginning to change, but the idea still running rampant is that you need to be a toothpick to be beautiful. If you’re anything over 120 pounds (if that), you’re fat.
It’s a horrible stereotype that is completely unrealistic and, not to mention, 100 percent false. However, it’s a stereotype that’s been deeply embedded in Western media so it’s difficult growing up without having been affected by it.
This makes young girls strive for what they believe to be the perfect body, only to fail repeatedly because it’s another game of the rabbit chasing a carrot on a stick. If they hit that goal weight, it’s still not good enough because it was never about the weight in the first place.
However, by reducing toxic influences such as TV, websites, and social influences that can perpetuate ideas that encourage your perfectionism and make you compare yourself to others, you’re able to control the situation better and create a healthier and more nourishing environment within your mind.
The likelihood is, no matter what your craft, profession, passion, or endeavor, there are Great Ones out there. And, if there are, chances are you can learn about their story and maybe even reach out to them.
The purpose of this is to identify the humanity in them. See that even those who are the best at what they do aren’t perfect at all. In fact, what you’ll always find is that striving toward perfection would have killed their success and kept them from ever achieving greatness.
Taking these examples to heart, your final task is to remind yourself that you are human. And to be human means to be imperfect. We’re a living marvel in this big universe, a living and breathing intelligent life form. But we can’t be perfect all the time.
And, the cool thing is, the people you work and interact with are also imperfect. That means, assuming they’re like any average, reasonable human being, they’re understanding of this fact and don’t require or expect perfection at all.
The curse of perfectionism can hold you back. Don’t let the need to validate yourself with an unattainable perfection keep you from realizing your own unique and perfect version of yourself.