“When perfectionism is driving, shame is always riding shotgun and fear is the annoying backseat driver”. – Dr Brene Brown.
Shame and Vulnerability Research Dr Brene Brown explains the trap of perfectionism so well with the above quote. Because we struggle with perfectionism in the areas we feel most vulnerable to shame.
There is absolutely no problem in having a high standard for the quality of your work. Striving for a high standard feels wonderful and is an internal process that says “I can be the best I can be”.
However, perfectionism is an external process that says “What will people think”. Perfectionism makes you feel unhappy with your life. It can lead to depression, anxiety and inhibit your success, relationships with others and your relationship with yourself.
Perfectionism feels terrible because your work is somehow never quite good enough.
Perfections strain compulsively and unceasingly towards unattainable goals, and measure their self-worth by productivity and accomplishments. Pressuring oneself to achieve unrealistic goals inevitably sets us up for disappointment. Perfectionists tend to be hard critics of themselves when they fail to meet their exacting standards.
Signs of Perfectionism:
- You struggle to complete tasks in a timely manner.
- You view mistakes as proof you’re inadequate.
- You invest a lot of energy into masking your flaws.
- You expect perfection from everyone else.
- Perfectionism is often taught in childhood when we are punished for making mistakes.
Procrastination is often a by product of perfectionism and can be holding you back from a fulfilling life.
How to stop Perfectionist thinking:
- Create more realistic personal goals and expectations.
- Challenge your inner critic and negative thoughts
- Challenge the thought process with “Can I know for absolute certain that I am not good enough at this”
- Trust that everything will get done in time.
- Schedule breaks and time out to recharge.
- Practice not holding everyone to the same standard.
- Look at mistakes as a lesson not a failure
- Priortise self-care.
- Practice saying no more often.
- Accept that time off is not time wasted.
- Learn to respect and love yourself
Learn to challenge that trap of perfectionism because done is more important than perfect and a whole lot more fun.