Progress Vs Perfection

The need to be ‘perfect’ 

Do you feel like you are constantly striving to fulfil a long list of things but never quite getting there? You could have some perfectionist thinking.

Perfectionism isn’t just about wanting to do well and wanting to get things right, it is also about setting yourself unattainable standards and expecting ‘perfection’ from yourself.

This can involve putting yourself down or beating yourself up for every little mistake you have ever made and never feeling like you are doing enough. Often when perfectionists do have massive successes and achievements they often don’t see them as such and will downplay it or explain it as ‘just something everyone does’. Secretly they may feel they could have done better!

It is a damaging habit to think like this as it causes you to beat yourself up constantly for doing or saying something ‘wrong’, not being successful enough, not being attractive or slim enough, not being a good enough parent, friend, employee etc etc. This contributes to an even more negative self-view as you focus on your failures not successes. Homing in on one small thing you got wrong rather than all the things you did really well.

For example, if your boss criticises one small thing in an appraisal but heaps on tons of praise about everything else you are doing, being perfectionist will lead you to only think about that negative comment and can make you feel rubbish at your job!

3 Tips to managing perfectionist thinking

1/ start lowering your standards a bit! Expect a bit less from yourself & you will start to enjoy where you are right now. Tell yourself you are doing your best and you are good enough this minute.  

2/ don’t expect yourself to be perfect when the rest of the world isn’t. Think about people you love and admire. Are they perfect? Do they make mistakes? Are they sometimes late or sometimes have an untidy house or clothes that aren’t perfect? Do you love them anyway? Don’t set standards for yourself that are impossible.

3/ Look for progress not perfection. What are you doing well as opposed to what you aren’t doing. This will give you a much better and more positive perspective over things. Does it matter if all the ironing isn’t done if your kids are fed & happy?