The pressure that some feel to be “perfect” can not only come across as “fake” by others, but the amount of stress it can put on you personally is immense! Women are more common to feel the need to be perfect, and typically, perfectionism takes over more than one aspect of your life. I know this all too well. Perfectionism is my middle name, or shall I say WAS my middle name. It was something I picked up at a young age from my father who is a perfectionist himself, and imposed a lot of pressure and control on us through it. For years I thought that the way I was is normal and kept on living a life filled with stress and unrealistic expectations of myself. Honestly it really destroyed me. If I didn’t have enough of a broken self-esteem the constant pressure to be perfect and to perform to unrealistic expectations imposed by my “I should’s” was just, well insane!!
I was constantly stressed, felt drained and tired and most of all never felt happy or accomplished with my achievements.
The best key to determine if you are a perfectionist is to see if you can relate to any of the scenarios I’ve listed below. Once you determine whether or not you possess these qualities, it’s imperative to start the journey of welcoming and appreciating who you ARE, instead of trying to kill yourself to attain an image or goal that will not result in happiness.
- Do you find yourself constantly cleaning because your home always has to be perfect?
- Do you lose sleep because you work outside of the home and you obsess over every little detail?
- Do you feel pressure to ever compete with the homes of your neighbors?
- Do your kids have to look perfect all the time?
- Do you stress about their clothes, hair, etc?
- Do you obsess over the extra curricular activities that your kids participate in? They have to be in the best sports, with the best teams and be the best participant.
- Do you change your outfit a bunch of times in the morning?
- Do you lose sleep because you’re so dedicated to work and you want to be an overachiever?
- Do you constantly look at yourself in a negative way or possess negative self-talk?
- Do you go out of your way to be a person that you don’t really think you are deep down?
Of course these are only a few examples of some ways that a perfectionist might relate to. If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, it’s important to understand why you are this way. Is it because your parents were perfectionists? Do you feel like appearing “perfect” is the only way fo you to feel confident in your day-to-day? Or maybe you surround yourself with other perfectionists and you constantly compete with each other, while not even realizing it.
Over the years I have learned that many perfectionists really suffer from a damaged self-esteem and pursuing perfectionism is not the answer to this problem. Quite the contrary, it will actually fuel the negative self talk and keep you stuck in your low vibe, lack of self love and acceptance.
You may not realize this, but appearing “perfect,” gets you nowhere. In fact, it deprives you of sleep, starves you of valuable connections, altars your confidence and limits your happiness. A Perfectionist’s work is never done. There is a constant desire to do more, do better and over achieve. This isn’t meant to be confused with passion and drive. Usually with a perfectionist, the contrary holds true. The only thing that’s driving a perfectionist is being “perfect. . . “ correction, appearing perfect! A perfectionist will tend to have fake conversations, and not opening up to be their most authentic self. This puts their ability to have more friends in jeopardy. While you might think that a perfectionist would be full of confidence, that’s only what they want you to think. Deep down, those that appear to be the most perfect, are the ones hurting the most inside.
So, what do you do if you’re a perfectionist?
- Boost your confidence – do things for YOU only! Things that bring you joy and peace of mind.
- Rest more – take time to just BE, you are a human BEing NOT Doing.
- Practice letting little things “go.” – I always tell myself it’s not perfect and I am perfectly fine with it. (then smile to yourself)
- Stop worrying about what others think of you! It is none of your business.
- If you are easily influenced or triggered by social media, stop scrolling through your social feed for a while. (I had to do that for a while after realizing that it would trigger my insecurities and push me to strive for unrealistic goals)
- Accept your authentic self – Get to know it, embrace it and love it.
- Give yourself permission to understand that not all things are meant to be under your control.
- Choose your battles – don’t sweat the small stuff. I always ask myself will this matter in a year from now? It usually doesn’t.
- Learn to ask for help (help around the house, help packing lunches, help at work, etc). – Yes you heard right- ASK FOR HELP, something perfectionists hate doing. You do NOT need to be able to do it all on your own. You are human!!!!
- Start Journaling. If you can’t open up to others, start by opening up to yourself. Write down your thoughts, struggles, emotions, or bullet journal a to-do list and prioritize the most important things, and let go or re-delegate the things that really don’t matter, or that can be postponed. – Journaling was and is a lifesaver for me.
I also read a lot of books that were really helpful. You might want to read in Pursuit of Perfect. I really enjoyed it.
As soon as you come to the realization on whether or not you are a perfectionist, start making a change. I know it was a hard thing to change and work on, and I will be the first to admit that I am constantly working on it, but the rewards you will reap from it are PRICELESS. You will finally start living an authentic life, and trust me there is nothing like it!