Why perfectionism is a futile pursuit.
We all battle our inner critic, our feelings of self worth, and limiting beliefs that keep us from becoming the best version of ourselves. Nobody is exempt from this.
For many, it goes to the level of needing perfection in their efforts. When left unchecked, this can develop into serious emotional and behavioral disruptions like anger, judgement, exhaustion, and OCD or OCD like symptoms. This personality trait is what we know as perfectionism.
The pursuit of perfection is rooted in virtue. The desire to be a good person, to do the right thing, and to ensure things go according to a very specific plan are all very useful in life. Where we go sideways, is when we over express these traits, and lack the self awareness to realize when we're projecting our own shadows and inner critic's voice. Over striving to be a "good person" can lead to a judgemental disposition. Seeing yourself as someone who always does the right thing can lead to condescendence. Feeling we know the exact way to plan and execute can lead to being difficult to get along with, and a rigid stance towards life. Hemorrhoids are often a problem for perfectionists.
How do we integrate the virtue and dismantle the undesirable traits that go along with over expression? Here are a few things to consider.
1) Who am I trying to be perfect for and who determines what is perfect?
2) How does it make you feel to think that you are a "bad person", or that "there is something wrong with you"?
3) Is the perfect outcome perfect for everyone, or just me? Would everyone agree with my answer to that question?
4) What are some common phrases the inner critic utters to me?
5) Whose voice is that?
6) Is there something you'd like to say to that inner critic?
7) What would you say?
8) Does perfect even exist?
9) Am I worthy of love and acceptance even if I am not perfect?
10) If yes, why worry? If not, why not? Do I withhold my love and acceptance of others until they display perfection?
Perfect is subjective, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can admit that the pursuit of perfect is futile. If you attempt these exercises often, you will begin to realize that what is perfect for one person, is utterly imperfect for the rest, in most cases.
By definition, that would be imperfect.
Check out the podcast I just did with MMA and BJJ competitor and coach, Jen Schmill. Jen has battled perfectionism all her life. In the past several months, she has done a great job of dismantling and integrating this into her life. Her day to day has gotten a lot less stressful, and her self acceptance is higher than ever.
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