Are you a perfectionist?
Do you feel like you are getting caught up trying to be perfect with what you do? Do you find the need to control every detail until its perfect? Have you procrastinated because you’re afraid it won’t be good enough?
You look at your goals and then relate it to yourself. If you feel that you are incapable of accomplishing this goal or done it inadequately, then you do your best to not do it or run from it.
Though many considers perfectionism to be a good thing, it can be a crippling experience that stops you from truly living. When you have fear of imperfection, it’s called atelophobia – an anxiety disorder.
Perfectionism is the greatest obstacle to productivity. People would rather not start or complete a project than deal with failure. But we don’t have to let perfectionism hold us back from doing what we want to do.
So how do we deal with perfectionism?
You’ve been had. Perfectionism is a habit.
Maybe you got a B+ or got 3rd place in the top of your school. Or no matter what you did, you got criticism from your parents, friends and colleagues.
The consequences seems like a ruthless king who would hang any less than satisfactory performer.
The unconscious message you absorbed was that you are not enough.
We want people to like us, to think we are smart, to validate our success.
So as a way to compensate for this belief, you chose to hide your “defects” from others so that you feel superior. At the root of all that perfectionism is a feeling of imperfectness, inferiority, and like you are less than everyone.
Why can perfectionism can ruin your life?
Paralysis by Analysis
Now having high standards is different from being a perfectionist.
When you have high standards, you still go after your goals with little setbacks.
As a perfectionist, you tend to procrastinate, focus too much on the negative, and then don’t do anything.
The thought patterns go from “What ifs” to “It’s too much” and “I don’t know…”
All of these thought patterns go back to what you think of yourself and how capable you think you are.
It’s time that you know yourself as the powerful force that you are.
Feel valuable at your core and know that the contributions you make to this world are unique to you. No one else in this world can do what you can do in the exact way that you can do it.
The more you value yourself, the easier it is to finally let go of perfectionism.
You’ll be more empowered to take control of your life and not let perfectionism take over you. You’ll go from somebody who stresses about the tiniest detail to focusing on a job well done.
There is no need to please anyone other than your own creativity.
First, surrender the title of a perfectionist. The more we identify with this label, the more we become it.
You can have high standards but not be a perfectionist because you will soon go from needing to be perfect to becoming independent from perfectionism.
And the great thing about being independent is that your work becomes much, much better when you let go and allow your creativity to guide you along the way.
5 Tips to Help You Become Less of a Perfectionist
As you begin to value yourself, you’ll rely less on perfectionism.
Here are 4 tips to help you start valuing yourself and to realize that your mistakes don’t define you.
1. Do what you can do, then let it go.
As a perfectionist, it is tempting to fixate on one specific problem. When you mess up, you may even tell yourself how much you suck and how stupid you are.
It’s time to go on a diet – an imperfection diet.
You begin by deliberately messing up and, instead of fixing it, leave it. Now come back to it at another time and you realize that you are not dead yet.
At first, there is an urge to finish what you started.
Take a deep breath, tell yourself it’s okay, and begin building the habit that what you did is good enough.
2. Use a timer.
Set your timer for a certain amount of time in working on a problem.
When it’s times up, don’t continue. Stop!
That is the end. Go take a break.
3. See that others are not perfect
Start observing how others act. Are they perfect?
Find the tiny flaws in their armor and still accept them as they are.
By accepting other people in your life, you will come to learn how to accept yourself.
Perfection is an illusion. It’s not real.
4. Shoot for good enough. Then improve it.
I knew an author who had a tough time releasing his book because he wanted it to be perfect.
He said that he would release it this year but I would hear this excuse every year.
Though you shouldn’t release an incomplete book, there are always room for improvements.
Think in terms of releasing it now and then improve it later because there is no perfect time except now.
5. Just Start
When we begin a project, we want to do it right.
But you don’t have to do it right, you just have to do it your way.
And the thing is that when you start, the momentum comes to you and it will get easier along the way.
It may feel like the goal is so far away but if you take one step, you’ll one step closer doing it the right way.