7 Techniques to Stand Up Against the Perfectionist in You

How do I look today? Is this dress too short? Oh my God, is it out of fashion?

Will I do well with this presentation? What if my boss hates it?

I wish I was tinner. A bit taller. And prettier. God, I wish my hair was not so boring.

Are you having thoughts like those? Are you constantly criticizing yourself? You keep wishing you were better in every possible way? Darling, you have a problem. It’s called perfectionism and it’s practically ruining your life.

Even if you try and fail, it doesn’t mean you didn’t learn something. Every single experience counts. It leads you to more success.

Perfectionism is okay, even beneficial to a certain extent. We all strive for more success and personal growth. When our wish to be perfect in everything we do starts controlling our lives, we need to stand up against our inner critic.

Claire Donovan, a writer and project manager from BestEssays, explains that trying to make everything perfect puts us under unbearable stress: “I’m a writer. Of course I want my audience and the people I work for to like my work. When I’m too worried about them liking it, however, I lose my personal voice. I keep editing, and editing, and editing… until I make the piece utterly confusing. That’s where the problem with perfectionism lies: it prevents you from recognizing the enough moment, so you end up spoiling your work.”

That sounds pretty convincing, doesn’t it? We’ll share few tips that will help you control your strive for perfect.

1. Don’t Rush into Judgement

You can’t expect to achieve overnight success. If you expect to make things perfect from the first attempt, you’ll inevitably come down to disappointment. Let’s say you want to start paining. You always had a talent, but you were never serious about it. After the decision to give it a try, you’ll paint your first portrait. It will probably be far from perfect. You’ll have to practice, and practice, and practice some more. The good thing about practice is that it keeps making you better.

If you get disappointed after the first attempt that lacked perfection, you’ll quit the journey before you even started it. You’ll never give yourself a chance to see how great you can become. No matter what you’re doing, give yourself some time. You’ll get better at it.

When our wish to be perfect in everything we do starts controlling our lives, we need to stand up against our inner critic.

2. Learn from Your Mistakes

Even if you try and fail, it doesn’t mean you didn’t learn something. Every single experience counts. It leads you to more success. Thomas Edison put it well: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Take those cool Instagram yogis as an example. All you see is perfect poses in your feed. Do you know how many times they’ve failed before achieving such a perfect pose? Many! They didn’t blame themselves for not making them. They learn from the mistakes. What can they do differently? How can they overcome the weaknesses? Each and every step forward makes you grow. When you reach that better version of you, there will always be room for more growth and more mistakes. Perfectionism is an unrealistic category, so it makes no sense to strive for it.

3. Avoid the Mold

Oh, those perfect Instagram eyebrows. Perfect contouring, matte lipstick, huge eyelashes… you want to be the perfect face. The only problem is: that image of perfection is imposed. That’s not who you’re meant to be. You are a unique person, with flaws and strengths you need to accept. There’s no need to impress people by meeting the mainstream expectations they have.

Embrace your uniqueness. Grow from there. Become better, but preserve the things that make you unique! Being perfect in someone else’s eyes is worth nothing if you lose yourself.

4. Appreciate the Moment

This old piece of wisdom keeps getting more popular: always stay in the present moment. It’s good to have goals about the future. However, you have to relate the present moment to those goals. Are you happy with the current situation? What can you do to improve it? Be realistic!

Appreciate every step forward you make, no matter how small it is. Don’t waste the moment. Instead of wishing for perfection, do something to get better now.

5. You’re the Only Person to Compare Yourself to

Do you know where the strive for perfectionism comes from? We always want to be better than other people. We keep comparing our results with the success they achieve, and we’re only proud of ourselves when we’re better than them. Such perfectionism is not healthy. You’ll never be good enough, since you’ll always have more successful and beautiful people to compare yourself to.

You are a unique person, with flaws and strengths you need to accept. There’s no need to impress people by meeting the mainstream expectations they have.

Think about the present moment. What point are you at? Observe the results you achieve and compare them to the moments you went through. Are you better? That’s enough. Keep going!

Perfectionism can make you unhappy. It’s time to start taming your inner judge and give yourself some credit for the things you’re doing well. It’s a mindset that will change your life.

Joan Selby

Joan Selby is a life coach and a content marketer. She also runs her own blog medium.com/@joanselby where she posts about productivity, self improvement and writing tips. Joan is a Creative Writing graduate and fancy shoelover. A writer by day and reader by night, giving creative touch to everything. Connect with her on Twitter at @joan_selby

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