The phrase “nobody is perfect” may be true, but we live our lives trying to reach perfection regardless.
After all, who doesn’t want the picture-perfect life? The media reinforces this desire by urging us to find that perfect man, have the perfect career, reach that perfect weight. Here’s how to end perfectionism.
The pursuit of perfection is everywhere even neurotic perfectionism and many of us feel like we’ve failed before we even begin, worried that we’ll make the wrong move and fall flat on our faces trying to reach that elusive brass ring. To get past these ideals, we must find the source of our expectations and get to the truth about perfectionism. These tips will help you learn how to end perfectionism:
Realize that the inner critic is at the root of perfectionism
Do you know that little voice in your head that tells you you’re not good enough? The one that insists that you’ll never succeed and that nothing you do ever works out well? This is the inner critic. She dwells in the recesses of your mind, ever ready to criticize your decisions and judge your every move. This voice is so powerful, so commanding, that it can drown out anything positive, keeping your attention on the “can’ts,” “won’ts,” and “nevers.” We often become so used to this voice that we let it ramble on unfiltered and buy into everything it tells us.
It may take every ounce of energy you have to try and quiet the inner critic, but I want to offer you a new vantage point. Whenever Little Miss Perfect rears her head (or voice), acknowledge the thought, don’t resist it, but don’t latch onto it as truth either. Let your thinking flow freely. The thought comes in and rolls back out just like the tide and avoid getting caught in giving it any power or believing in it. Once you get good at allowing critical thoughts to flow out as fast as they flow in, you loosen the hold of perfectionism. The voice of perfection wants you to believe that you are falling short. If you stop listening to that voice, the true you feels safe to try new things, take chances and thrive.
Send your inner critic (and yourself) some love to end perfectionism
In reality, the perfectionist inner critic is a frightened child who is afraid to fail. Perhaps you were picked on by your parents for not doing anything right, or maybe you were criticized at school for dancing to the beat of your own drum. When negative outside influences become too prominent in our lives, we begin to internalize what the world is reflecting back to us – thus allowing the outer critic to evolve into the inner critic.
When a critical thought enters your mind, take a positive spin on it. For instance, let’s say that you’ve decided to take a new yoga class. Your inner critic may offer something along the lines of: “You’ve never done this before. You’ll probably fall and embarrass yourself!” Rather than give in to this negativity, you can try counteracting it with something more positive, like: “Everyone has to start somewhere. I love learning new things!” Sprinkle some love on that critic and she’ll have no fire to aim back at you.
Self-love is the antithesis of the voice. We don’t often think of flowing love to the negative thoughts in our heads, but it works. By adding love and laughter into the mix, you strengthen the high vibrations and become a magnet for all things empowering.
Have a sense of humor about the compulsion to be perfect
Humor can diffuse even the most serious of situations. Whenever you’re feeling too rigid, shake things up a bit by laughing about your perfectionist ways. This is not dismissing the situation nor falling into self-deprecation, but having fun with the experience.
When we’re in the thick of things, humor can feel unnatural, I know. Rather than force it, simply allow it to come to you. Remind yourself that you’re a human being who errs often and being human is beautiful.
Humor lends us the humility to come back to earth and enjoy our trek on it; embracing every up and down and part of the joyous and exciting adventure of being human.
Finish before it’s perfect
Say what?! Let’s break this one down – we’re all aware that perfectionism can be an endless process, but what’s even worse is the fact that many of the best-laid plans don’t see the light of day due to the never ending cycle of trying to get it right. At some point, we have to put down that red pen, hide the magnifying glass that is illuminating every flaw, and look at the big picture instead. When was the last time you took joy in your accomplishments rather than focus only on your what hasn’t come to fruition?
The moment fear, overwhelm, and anxiety take the stage, you know you’ve gone too far. At this point, take a nice, deep breath and let go of all obligations and expectations.
Remember that spending hours on a project or effort does not always equal success, so why toss that added pressure into the equation? Sometimes the unperfect project is authentic and therefore deeply relatable to others. Sometimes coloring outside of the lines and messing things up a little is the way new things get created. One must never be afraid to show up, do what feels right inside and let everything else go.
Perfection kills creativity, authenticity and let’s face it, it doesn’t feel good inside. If you wonder how to stop being a perfectionist in relationships or in any of your life, you are not alone. Freedom from the inner critic and what others think is where you will find peace and the ability to be more of your beautiful self. The fears are not real and it only takes testing them to find out that there are no rules except the ones you create. With self-care and plenty of love, the inner-perfectionist voice will become nothing more than a whisper. You now know how to end perfectionism; you just have to put it into practice.