Overcoming Perfectionism When Unrealistic Expectations Rule
The pressure to be perfect infuses every aspect of our lives. From our homes to our jobs to our appearance to our kids we can feel driven to perform perfectly. Trying to do your best and excel is not a bad thing in itself. The problem arises when anything LESS than perfection is unacceptable.
Of course, we understand intellectually that being perfect all the time is impossible. However, that doesn’t change the grinding feelings of failure and fear of judgment that rear up when we don’t live up to our own expectations. As a therapist and life coach, I see this all the time, and I want to help you.
Perfectionism is Paralyzing
If you are vulnerable to perfectionism, you run yourself absolutely ragged attempting to live up to some impossible standard. However, this messy, freewheeling life inevitably sideswipes your efforts. Your dinner party fails to meet your Pinterest-worthy standards, your garden is a weedy mess, your kids are grubby, or you’re late again… and a black hole of guilt and shame rises up inside you, making it difficult to enjoy the beauty and goodness that also exists in your imperfect world.
Many people who struggle with perfectionism are incredibly competent, thoughtful, and thorough in everything that they do. However, they can put SO much time and energy over-focusing on small details, it can make even the simplest projects seem overwhelming. The result, ironically, is procrastination, which leads to not having enough time to do a good job, which leads to more imperfection and feelings of shame and failure.
If perfectionism gets too powerful, it can lead to total avoidance of tasks. Piles of unfolded laundry, tons of clutter, unfinished household projects, and even serious problems at work or school are some of the hallmarks of a severe case of perfectionism.
3 Keys to Overcoming Perfectionism
The good news? Perfectionism CAN be overcome. I know this because, in addition to working with many people who have struggled with and conquered perfectionism, I’m a perfectionist (in recovery) myself.
This episode of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast is all about how to help you overcome the anxiety and self-judgment that leads to perfectionism, and start enjoying your life again. (And being more successful and effective in the process.) Listen and learn the three new ideas that will help you overcome perfectionism.
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What’s Your Overcoming Perfectionism Story?
Can you relate to perfectionism? Is it something that you’re currently struggling with, or something that you’ve already overcome? Either way, I hope you share your story in the comments and share your thoughts and wisdom with others.
— xo, Lisa Marie
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self. She is a licensed psychologist, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a board-certified coach, as well as the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.