10 Practical Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism
Perfectionism, a relentless pursuit of flawlessness and an aversion to making mistakes, affects individuals from all walks of life. However, it is essential to recognize that perfectionism can manifest differently in men and women, often influenced by societal and cultural expectations. In my previous article, 8 Ways Toxic Perfectionism Seeps Into Your Life & Sabotages Your Happiness we looked at the different causes of perfectionism and how it sabotages your happiness.
In this article, we delve into some of the thinking errors that can lead to perfectionism and more importantly 10 practical tips to help overcome it. Drawing on psychological research and expert insights, I aim to shed light on this pervasive issue and empower you to embrace imperfection and achieve a healthier, more balanced life.
Let’s break free from the relentless pursuit of flawlessness and achieve greater well-being! As you master your mindset and release the negative thinking from your nervous system, you’ll find peace of mind and success.
The underlying trauma that created perfectionistic thinking comes in a variety of forms and what it leaves behind can have a lifetime of negative effects. In the book Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Perfectionism by Sarah J. Egan, Tracey D. Wade, Roz Shafran, and Martin M. Antony, we learned that there are a variety of unconscious ways that can get our minds caught in a pattern of perfectionistic thinking.
Do any of these ring true for you?
- All or Nothing Thinking – It involves judging things in an all-or-nothing way Sounds like: “I misspoke in my talk today and the whole presentation was a disaster.”
- Negative Labels Thinking – Sounds like: “I messed up. I’m such a loser and screw up!”
- “Shoulding” on Yourself Thinking – Sounds like: “I should be doing better than I am.”
- Catastrophizing Thinking – Sounds like: “What If I get this wrong and then I get fired, then I’ll be broke and homeless?”
- Fortune Telling Thinking – Sounds like: “I’m sure my colleagues thought my presentation was terrible as they were looking at their phones.”
- Glass is Empty Thinking – Sounds like: Because I made a bad dessert the whole meal was ruined.”
- Two Faced Thinking – Sounds like: “It is okay for others to make spelling mistakes but not okay for me.”
- Dramatized Thinking – Sounds like: “Because I made a mistake at work, I am a failure as a human being.”
- Emotional Thinking – Sounds like: “I feel super anxious; therefore, I know I am going to give a bad talk.”
- Martyr Thinking – Sounds like: “If my work team does not win the bid, it is entirely my fault.”
- Crystal Ball Thinking – Sounds like: “I just know I am going to give a bad presentation.”
If any of these resonated with you, you’re not alone. As human beings we tend to be much harder on ourselves and overly critical of our performance. It’s when the negative dialogue we have with ourselves becomes paralyzing that it’s time to seek some support.
Here are ten concrete suggestions to help you start to reset and rewire your thinking!
10 Practical Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism and Embracing Your Flawsome
- Self-Awareness: Begin by giving yourself some self-love and acknowledging the presence of perfectionistic tendencies in your life. Self-awareness is the first step toward change and embracing your flawsome self.
- Challenge Your High Bar: Are your standards unrealistic? Is the bar you’re using to measure your own “striving for excellence” way to high? Evaluate the standards you have set for yourself and consider whether they are realistic and attainable. Be willing to adjust your expectations for greater peace of mind and confidence.
- Set Realistic Goals: Establish achievable goals that allow room for mistakes and setbacks. We all make missteps. It’s a natural part of learning and personal growth.
- Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during moments of failure or imperfection. Replace self-criticism with self-compassion.
- Limit Social Media: Reduce exposure to social media platforms that promote constant comparison. Unfollow accounts that trigger feelings of inadequacy or shame, and focus on your own journey and well-being.
- Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Incorporate mindfulness and relaxation practices into your daily routine to effectively manage stress and anxiety. As you learn how to not sweat the small stuff, your need for perfection will diminish.
- Celebrate Progress: Shift your focus from achieving the perfect end result, to the progress you make along the way. Celebrate your efforts and achievements, no matter how small they may seem to be. This naturally gives your brain a mood boost of the neurotransmitter dopamine (a.k.a. one of your happy chemicals!) as you embrace your flawsome
- Learn from Mistakes: Embrace mistakes as valuable learning opportunities. Analyze what went wrong, how you can improve, and then move forward with newfound wisdom, and clarity knowing what you now know that you didn’t before.
- Redefine Success: Reevaluate your definition of success. Shift your perspective from seeking external validation and comparison to other people’s standards to prioritizing your own personal fulfillment and overall well-being through your unique contributions to the world.
- Seek Support: Reach out to friends, a counselor, coach, or hypnotherapist who can provide emotional support and guidance as you navigate the challenges of releasing the obstacles of perfectionistic thinking.
Perfectionism can be a challenging obstacle for both women and men to overcome, but it is not insurmountable. By implementing these ten practical tips for overcoming perfectionism to embrace your flawsome, you can take meaningful steps toward breaking free from the suffocating grip of it in all areas of your life.
Remember that perfection is an unattainable illusion, but self-acceptance and personal growth are achievable goals that lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling life.
If you’d like some support to reset your thinking to one of greater self-love and self-acceptance, then let’s talk. You can book your confidential clarity call here.
You can also hop on the waitlist for my new upcoming book in collaboration with my co-author Tom Collins: “I Am Perfectly Flawsome – How Embracing Imperfection Makes Better.” It is a comprehensive guide and thought-provoking workbook to overcoming the dangerous and often debilitating effects of perfectionism that have become so prevalent in our society.
Inspired by the Japanese art of Kintsugi – a metaphor for embracing your flaws and imperfections, this collaboration is a must-read for anyone who’s ever struggled with the pressure to be perfect and wants to learn how to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Michele Molitor, CPCC, CHt – Your Mind Detective, is a transformational coach and hypnotherapist, and co-author of the best-selling book, “Breakthrough Healing.” For over 20 years, she has worked with high achieving professionals assisting them in reducing their fears and overwhelm to reclaim their self-confidence, calm and clarity to create a thriving life and career. Connect with her directly to unlock your potential and step into your power with confidence.