We are not born perfect (Even though our parents may think so 🙂)! And there is very little evidence to show that we are born Perfectionists. Perfectionism is something we learn through our environment, and there can be many reasons including positive reinforcement, praise, high expectations or critical evaluations from our parents. It affects the way we view ourselves, others and the world. Perfectionists have had experiences that lead them to develop a view of the world that encourages the pursuit of unrelenting high standards.
If you find yourself under constant stress to reach the high standards that you put upon yourself, or believe that others expect of you, then you might just be at a point where “Perfectionism” is no longer serving you, but making your life and of those around you miserable.
Pursuing unrealistic standards can have a significant impact on your well-being, leading to frustration, worry, social isolation, depression and a persistent sense of failure.
But things don’t have to stay this way!
Here are 5 tips to reduce the stress and anxiety, caused by Perfectionist thinking:
1 – Be aware, be very aware of your negative thoughts when you make a mistake, and question if those thoughts are rational. ie. there may be one spelling mistake in a report you spent hours on, but the rest is spotless.
2 – Would you speak to your best friend the way you speak to yourself? Would you call them “useless” or “failure?”. Be your own best friend for a change.
3 – What is the worst thing that can happen? Keep asking yourself, is that really the worst thing that can happen?
4 – Is what you think others think of you really their thoughts, or yours? Do you have hard evidence that this is what they are thinking?
5 – Check your values; family, work, health, marriage/relationship, community, religion, friendship etc. Do you live in line with your values, or are you def some important ones because of one?
If you feel your perfectionist beliefs are getting in the way and causing you anxiety, it is ok to seek help. It is possible to learn how to take control of your thoughts and feelings, break free from negative patterns, and make profound changes so that you rediscover your confidence and live the life you want.
Aylin Webb. Cognitive Behavioural & EMDR therapist, Perfectionism Coach, NLP Practitioner and a self-compassion & Mindfulness advocate. Aylin helps women from all stages of life to conquer their self-doubt and reclaim their lost self-esteem. Her goal is to help others foster relationships with themselves and discover inner strengths to lead a more fulfilled and happier life. Find out more about Aylin here.