There are many imperfections in life – it may be for this very reason there are people called perfectionists. They do their best to make their life devoid of all and any blemishes. They set standards that are barely achievable. They are rarely, if ever, satisfied, because things could always have been better. When something crumbles down, they believe they alone are at fault, despite the fact that other people were in charge.
Mistakes are always there, but perfectionists think that they wouldn’t have happened but for somebody’s failure or neglect. Also, they live in constant fear that they won’t achieve perfection with their tasks, so they fall prey to procrastination. With time perfectionism can hamper their careers at quite a large extent.
Should a perfectionist fail to achieve the high standard of performance he or she set for themselves, they come down on themselves, tearing their own self-esteem apart.
As attempts to attain unfeasible goals mount up the perfectionist has disappointment gnawing at them increasingly. Feeling not up to the mark, these people turn upon themselves periodically blaming themselves for all real and imaginable shortcomings.
So, how to let go of perfectionism?
Take stock of inner beliefs
Where did these bloated standards come from? They must have been a response to some inner desires within you that crave for an ideal world. Anyway, the beliefs and desires behind the perfectionist freakiness can be changed once you become aware of them. It’s up to you to support those which you deem more beneficial for your well-being.
See to it that your expectations are realistic
While chasing perfection many people encountered failure. Unattainable goals bring on unrealistic expectations and a firm notion that only those who can reach those wonder goals magically are worthy of praise.
Since any accomplishment you may have achieved seems small and insignificant compared to your lofty expectations, the race is never won. Greater goals invariably loom ahead. That means you are never content and never stop to appreciate what you have and how good your performance is. Instead, negative impressions draw attention to themselves. You need to steer away from them and allow yourself to be less than ideal to become more realistic and satisfied.
Without getting changed around dramatically, once you have acknowledged the idea that an alternative mindset is possible, you may feel freer and less troubled by falling short of the ideal.
Picture yourself as a failure
Perfect is opposed to failure. But while you get torn between one extremity and the other, your creative abilities and innovative inclinations may not receive their due attention.
If you mean to put an end to it, play in your mind the worst scenario possible and what you would end up with. Chances are you will see various opportunities still open for you even in the worst of cases. So what was keeping you scared is not so powerful as it may have appeared.
Divert your attention by taking up activities that you are unaccustomed to
The habit of being perfect (or wanting to be perfect) can be highly resistant; to weaken it, choose a new activity that you are not comfortable with. As you do something that you know you are likely to bungle you will understand the value of learning through failure and perseverance.
If you are bad at arithmetic, do sums (maybe in your mind). Learn the piano keys and try to play a passage or three. Concentrate on knitting. Paint things on mugs even if you don’t feel artistic enough. These struggles with a new activity that requires developing knacks will also serve to relieve the anxious and worried state of mind caused by the insistent perfectionism.
Determine appropriate standards
Things we don’t always have to be done with brilliant perfection. Many of them require an average level of goodness. When you set about doing something, first determine the level of quality needed.
A short consultation with somebody may be needed: some things could be done quickly with a degree of inaccuracy, others should be done very carefully in parts. See to it that you understand the particular requirements for the job at hand.
Live here and now
A person bound tight to perfectionism has his or her self-esteem strongly dependent on their feeling of capability. Since perfectionism is apt to restrain one, your unique nature is put into doubt. There’s no way you can feel good about what you deliver and about yourself.
Add more mindfulness to your life, avoid multitasking and try to stay in the present moment. Living here and now you can maintain control of your mind and prevent being overwhelmed by negative thoughts.
When you keep yourself firmly in the present, you avoid anxiety, because you are observing the progress of your activity without anticipating the result (and finding faults in it!). You can see how well you can perform at the given moment and give yourself the praise you merit. Assess your abilities realistically but not your result idealistically.
Reconsider the meaning of failure
You can fail in a number of ways – a small slip no-one noticed, or a huge blunder witnessed by many. Try to regard it as a kind of rectification that doesn’t let you stray off the path too far. It is an indication that you have already messed things up and here’s your sign to mend the situation.
So think about failures as lessons you are taught outside school to bear in mind and avoid future embarrassments – not shameful, but helpful.
Find reasons to march on in good time
Actually, this is your best line of action. Set yourself a time limit within which you can work away at your task to achieve the perfection you strive for. But once the time is up, you cease working. While perfection could be a fine thing, you do need sound time management.
Herein lies the meaning of deadlines, actually. The timer of your phone will help you make sure you don’t overstay. Also, you would do well to schedule some other pleasant tasks to do after you have finished.
Mind your interests
Perfectionists are often people who seek to serve others and bring satisfaction. Basically, it is a good wish to build up great relationships and win people over to you – but the big question is whether you do it with a fair share of your inner resources or it is self-sacrifice on your part. Wasting yourself away to this end would place you at a disadvantage.
Another reason for being a perfection freak is being afraid that you are going to be a disappointment and a failure. That is, despite the fact that you are really good enough (and may even be close to a genius!). Your great abilities can make your goals even less feasible. If you feel that you have turned into a people pleaser, begin changing your mindset, stop anticipating poor disappointing results and feel the pleasure of living at the present.
Talk to a professional
Many of your fears and anxieties would be irrational and might require professional help. Working with a therapist you can dispel your fears more easily and get in touch with your true potential.