I used to be proud of my perfectionism, but now I realize that my tendency to want everything exactly ‘just so’ actually made me quite unhappy. It was a massive and quite recent light bulb moment for me to understand that as a perfectionist, what I was really hiding under the surface was insecurity; a feeling that I wasn’t good enough if everything I did wasn’t perfect.
“Insecurity's best cover is perfectionism. That's where it becomes an art form.”
- Beth Moore
This insecurity in disguise is the reason many books don’t get written and published, projects don’t get launched, business ideas don’t come to fruition and new skills or hobbies don’t get learnt and enjoyed. Perfectionism can really hold us back from taking action.
Being a perfectionist involves creating impossibly high standards for yourself and others and becoming disillusioned when, inevitably, these standards are not met. Striving for excellence is a good thing but perfection is not attainable, and this fact is hard for a perfectionist to accept. This means that a perfectionist is often unhappy and dissatisfied with life, noticing the things that are wrong rather than what is right!
I remember this in my previous business. Before becoming a hypnotherapist & Rapid Transformational Therapy Practitioner, I had a beauty & holistic salon for many years. I started this business from scratch and built it into a success, eventually employing fourteen people. Of course the standards of treatments and client care needed to be impeccable, but whilst striving to deliver the best I became a bit disillusioned as I felt that we didn’t always reach my unachievable expectations.
I had to check myself many, many times and train myself to look at the big picture and notice all the good things in my business rather than what I considered to be less than perfect. I remember the first beauty therapist I employed walked out on me on Christmas Eve! Her reason? I was just too difficult to please! A ‘nightmare’ I think were her actual words!! That was a big lesson for me and I learnt to ease off a bit and notice all of the good things my team were doing for the clients and their positive contributions to the business.
Since becoming a hypnotherapist and working with Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT), I have done a lot of deep work on my beliefs around not being enough. RTT really gets to the root of an issue, which allows deep healing to happen. This has impacted me and therefore, the clients I work with in such a profound and positive way.
Because I have personal experience of suffering from perfectionism, I can really help others to see it for what it is and break free of it for good. This allows them to move forward feeling liberated, confident and happy.
Do you recognize any of these common perfectionist traits in yourself?
Are you critical of yourself and others when impossibly high standards are not met?
You find yourself thinking the worst: ‘If I’m not perfect I am worthless.’
Is your self-esteem low and you feel you have to do everything perfectly in order to be loved or accepted?
You suffer from procrastination: ‘I should not make mistakes. If I can’t do this well, even at the beginning, I’m not going to attempt it.’
Perfectionism can cause:
Chronic procrastination by avoiding doing new things in fear of making mistakes.
Wasted time by repeatedly checking over unimportant items such as the wording of low-value email responses or documents.
Depression when things don’t match up to your expectations.
Overcritical behaviour of yourself and others.
Obsession over the small details and not seeing the big picture.
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”- Anna Quindlen
Ways to tackle perfectionism if it is holding you back or making you unhappy:
In the grand scheme of things in life, ask yourself if the small details in a particular case really matter.
Look at the big picture—the temptation of perfectionism is to focus on the minute details. Okay, so your partner has not done a totally perfect job of cleaning the bathroom but has done it to a fairly good standard and also washed the dishes and done some laundry too.
If you catch yourself noticing the bad aspects of something, immediately ask yourself, ‘What are the good things about this?’
Recognise that you and others are only human. Everyone makes mistakes and that doesn’t mean the world will end, or that if people are not perfect they are not loveable.
Ask yourself, ‘What is the worst thing that can happen if a task is not done perfectly?’ Then ask yourself, ‘If the worst thing did happen, would I handle it?’
Repeat your choice of the following affirmations daily to reprogram your mind to combat perfectionism.
My favourite affirmations to beat perfectionism:
• I forgive myself for my mistakes—I am human.
• My imperfections are part of me. I accept them as a necessary part of life.
• I don’t have to be perfect—just real.
• I am enough, just the way I am.
• I let go of the need to be perfect.
• I let go of perfectionism and I move on with an open heart.
• I truly love and accept myself just as I am.
• I truly love and accept others just as they are.
If you want to know more about RTT and the deep healing that can happen when you release your blocks to success go here.