How To Break Free From 'Perfectionista' Jail - Mistakes are OK
Let’s just be honest and up front: perfectionism sucks. It’s a ruthless and self-inflicted prison, and “excessive standards” and “harsh self-punishment” are now becoming a thing for younger people. And even though it’s linked to major stinks like anxiety and depression, people still can’t seem to help themselves. Do we really mean to screw ourselves over? It often leads to psychological damage, but somehow, it’s still the new norm we feel pushed to chase after.
Researchers are showing us some exciting new stuff about our wretched self-defeat: our thinking patterns have a huge influence on self-perception. Evidence now says that our mental activity impacts our physical wellbeing. Basically, when you let a toxic thought roll over and over and over in your mind, your body starts reacting to it as it would a virus. You can literally think your way into getting sick. That’s a hot mess if I ever heard it.
As the old adage goes, whatever you think about, you bring about.
So what…are we as perfectionists all doomed for a psychological breakdown? Thankfully, you don’t have to be. The solution: take control of your mind.
Whatever reason you’re so hard on yourself, we are all deserving and worthy of love – especially love from ourselves! And it might be easy to hear “No one is perfect,” and “believe” it, but learning to believe it for yourself might be extra challenging. Here are five ways to break free from perfectionism and adopt a more gracious mindset. #luvyourself
Where are these pressures coming from? Are they internal? Do your parents constantly demand more from you? Think it over carefully and be honest with yourself (‘cause *spoiler alert* who else will if not you?). The word “therapy” might make you squirm, but you could benefit from seeking out a professional therapist to help you get to what’s causing your anxiety. I did this, and with my therapist’s help, realized that I had been taught to equate my self-worth in my accomplishments – and, in turn, my failures with worthlessness. Yuck. Sometimes self-education and self-improvement takes asking for some help, but it’s absolutely worth.
Take a break, and meditate.
Like anything else, developing this skill takes practice. Prac. tice. This doesn’t mean giving up after three days because you fell off track. Stay at it – if you mess up, who’s around to notice? (What’s even your damage, Heather…don’t be so hard on yourself and lighten up! That’s your homework. Lighten up.) Keep it going because you’re the only that wins here if you do. Start with five minutes a day, and focus on settling your mind when you first wake up. Then gradually increase it to twenty. There are plenty of apps that offer guided meditation services – I personally use Head Space. It’s an easy and worthwhile investment in your time and effort so like Shia Labeouf, JUST. DO IT.
Let yourself fail – and love yourself anyway
Failure is part of life. The sooner you can accept that, the sooner you’ll be able to see that you kind of need it. It’s how we learn, grow, improve, and succeed. Inevitable, essential, and cathartic, failure is a stepping stone to your path to success. So there. If fear is your only motive driving what you do, what kind of way to live is that? Nobody wins when you’re burning the candle at both ends. When you start to feel frazzled or frustrated, drop whatever you’re doing (except your animals, please) and take a time out. Do something because you want to do it, not because you have to do it. Pick something that leaves you feeling happy or relaxed. Bubble bath and massage and champagne, anyone?
Learn to accept criticism
We tend to cringe at anything un-positive about something we’ve done. TBH we know that most people don’t know how to deliver constructive criticism – a lot of us are terrible at it, so many of us start hating to hear it. But think of it this way: it’s the bridge that brings you to an improved version of yourself. Mic drop, you’re welcome. Basically you need that bridge to start livin’ your best life.
It might sting hearing it at first, but once you can bench your emotions and listen for the core message, take it to heart. Did you rush that press release you drew up at work? Listen to your boss when they tell you to slow down next time you write one…even if they were kinda rude in how they said it. Did your roommate ask if you could pitch in with the dishes? Well, maybe you’re kinda nasty to live with, okay? Instead of taking offense, help ya girl out and just do them dishes. Practice this by allowing their advice to mold you into a better employee/friend/family member. It’s hard but it’s going to help you grow, mama, so again, just do it.
Be kinder to your inner child – then kick ass with your inner girl boss.
If you were talking to a five-year-old, would you berate them by telling them their shoes were all scuffed up because they keep tripping when they walk, their finger painting looks like crap, and their bows in their hair make them look stupid? The answer is you better not!! So why would any of us treat our adult selves any differently? Treat yourself with the same kindness as you would a child. Then turn around and channel your inner Sasha Fierce – studies show that faking confidence leads to the real deal, so if that’s the case then wtf are we waiting for! Own what you’re good at and don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control.
Ladies, at the end of the day, the point here is as straightforward as I am single: improving your life perspective starts with you. Don’t let crappy baggage from yesterday keep you beating yourself up today. It really is never too late to make some changes, and you can change! Own what you got, admit what you don’t, and move forward. *hair flip*