Who told you that striving for perfection and struggling for unrealistically high standards would bring you love, joy, and peace?
I’m thinking “No one.” They probably never really said those words. They just inferred that you SHOULD be better, do better, and achieve more to be good enough. Or, maybe they were a little less positive, and gave you the sense that you didn’t have what it took.
Somewhere, somehow, someone told you–or, at least, gave you the sense–that perfectionism was the goal. It isn’t, and striving for it simply makes you feel less than, never good enough, and somehow inadequate.
What perfectionism will do is keep you from accepting yourself and your partner–and your parents, kids, co-workers–right now. There will always be that niggling feeling of “could have been more, done more, achieved more” with no end in sight. It is a struggle that has no end!
Perfectionism clouds your vision of yourself and others. As Psychology Today says: “For perfectionists, life is an endless report card on accomplishments or looks. It’s a fast track to unhappiness….” And, think what happens if you pass it on to your kids!
Perfectionism may be a virus you were injected with. The good news is that you can recover. It’s not easy or quick, but it’s possible. And, doing it shows that you do truly care about yourself, your relationships, and your quality of life.
Why would you give up perfectionism? You may think that it is a positive driving force that keeps you reaching for your goals. It is not. Here’s three ways it can be ruining your life:
- In your deepest self, you think everyone is judging you. And, that they secretly know that you’re just not trying hard enough.
- No matter what, you don’t believe your positive reviews. You think others are just being polite when they appreciate or praise you. You dismiss them as just not knowing how flawed you are, or how much better you supposedly could have done.
- In your inner self talk, you are secretly judgmental about the imperfections of others, and you are internally competitive about everything.
Three huge ways you could be missing out on the joy of living and loving!
My mom was the great purveyor of perfection in my life. I just could not be smart enough, talented enough, or slim enough. And, it seemed that she would only be satisfied if I could be all those three things at once! It was a nightmare. If I got A’s in school, but gained five pounds, she focused on the weight gain. If I won a piano competition, I could have looked better on stage if I were thinner. If I slimmed down–although, looking back at photos, I was never fat–then, I had better buckle down and study and practice more. A never-ending cycle of emotional abuse. Yes, that’s abusive. You can’t justify it or make excuses for it. It’s abusive.
Did you experience anything like that? If so, now is the best time to examine it. Time to change that programming, and enjoy life and love more fully. Perfectionism is one of the big relationship issues that I’ve helped many clients shift away from. I did it myself, and I know the way out of it to much more freedom.
Here’s today’s Podcast on Overcoming Perfectionism:
If you recognize that your view of yourself and others has been poisoned by perfectionism, that’s a great start. Now, do the work to lift yourself out of that mindset, and replace it with more love, patience, and appreciation for yourself. That will have a ripple effect and solve many relationship issues, too. You’ll be so much happier!
If you know it’s time to get some relationship help, I’m happy to work with you. You can schedule an appointment at a time convenient to you right online HERE.