Updated: Jan 26, 2021
Are you tired of constantly trying to be perfect?
Tired of the long days, tired of never being good enough, tired of worrying over every little detail. Tired of your friends and family telling you to let it go or even worse, saying you are not trying hard enough.
I know what it feels like to be tired; I am a recovering perfectionist. I share this with you so that you know that I have been where you are and have walked the tight rope to the other side.
I was so afraid of letting go of my perfectionist shield. I was afraid that it would make me lazy, effect my goals, and the amount I was able to accomplish.
In fact, learning to let go of my perfectionism did just the opposite. I had more energy and less down days because I gave myself permission to take care of myself. I was no longer held back by my fear of failure which allowed me to go after my goals sooner and achieve more. I got more done because I learned to trust myself and let go of validation.
My perfectionism was holding me down and when I let it go, I was able to achieve so much more.
6 Ways Your Perfectionism is Hurting You
You may feel that your perfectionism is allowing you to be better and more in control of your life. But it may be holding you back. Take a look at the questions below, do any of them sound true to you?
Are you ever afraid to start a new project because you are afraid that you may make a mistake or not look like an expert?
Are you a hard worker and highly productive, but often don’t take care of yourself when you are sick or need a break?
Are you critical of yourself and others when things do not go exactly as you plan?
Are you stressed out all the time, but will not ask or accept help from others?
Do you look to get validation and acceptance from others because you don’t trust yourself?
Is the fear of failure holding you back from going after your dreams? Or do you notice that you say, “I failed because xyz happened,” and you did not even try to overcome xyz?
Brave friend, did you answer yes to any of the questions above? Don’t fret, the amazing thing about life is that we have the ability to change, to take what we have learned and grow.
I often say that I kept the good traits of my perfectionism and let go of the bad! You can still be a hard worker, provide quality work, and think through problems before they arise. You will just let go of the stress and anxiety!
Doesn’t that sound blissful? Keep Reading!
Reduce your anxiety by learning how to go of your perfectionism
Perfectionism is all about control and control is all about minimizing fear and anxiety. Like a flower,
you will bloom one petal at a time as you start to let go of the toxic stories you have been telling yourself all while leaning into the love you are cultivating for yourself.
Step one Learn what perfectionism looks like
This is the hardest but most important part. Learning to watch yourself like you would a movie and say, “I’m exhausted and have been working for 10 hours straight. Why am I having trouble allowing myself to take a break?” This is what perfectionism looks like.
Notice that in this stage there is no judgment because, my brave friend, you are stressed out enough. You do not need to add stressing about not taking a break to your list.
Step two Learn what good enough looks like
I had to tackle my perfectionism when I was launching a company with tight deadlines and two kids under the age of three at home. My motto was progress not perfection. This gift was my first step in recovery. Why? Because I learned that mistakes were not something to be feared, that I would not fall off the earth, that life went on. I also started to see that life was so much more enjoyable when I had the “good enough” mindset. Side note, agile project management is amazing for perfectionists. You set tight deadlines to get things done but review and adjust often which allows you to adapt and grow from mistakes!
Step Three Learn how to love yourself
Love and Power are not able to live together. Control is a coverup for power. Learning how to let go of fear, control and power will open up your heart to love. Sometimes we are holding on to control so tightly we have to trick the heart to start to release your clutches of control.
1. Use affirmations for love to retrain your brain. For example, if you start to say, “Ugh I talked to much in that meeting I am such a loser.” You stop yourself midsentence and say “What I have to say is important.” Maybe your spouse tells you something hurtful, instead of saying, “Maybe they are right, I am not good enough,” you tell yourself that you are loving and worth love just the way you are.
2. Self-care is not selfish. You, my friend, need to take care of yourself. You have spent too long working, stressing and pleasing other people. Find ways to fill up your tank, in the beginning pamper yourself daily! If you’re starting to get stressed think of all the ways that you can step back and pamper yourself. In the future, this self-love will help you take the breaks needed to accomplish those amazing things (just without the stress).
3. Believe in yourself. Let go of whatever is holding you back. Heal the wounds so they can become glorious stories that you can tell fabulous tales about one day. Find a friend who can listen to you, journal or talk to a therapist so that you can start to find what is holding you back and how to start healing. Check out these journal prompts to get started.
Brave friend, you deserve to feel loved for who you are, worthy as you are and the simple joys of life. I promise you, your perfectionism is not helping you. The grass is truly greener on the other side. Come and take my hand and join me and thousand others. We are waiting for your beautiful self.