I need a rant.. Perfectionism stinks!! It robs so many wonderful women of peace and joy.
It is at the root of ‘all or nothing’ behavior, it supports negative self-talk and comparing ourselves to others, and creates low self-esteem and depression.
It turns altruism into overwhelm, sidetracks otherwise present moms from connection and arms every women with the ammunition with which to beat ourselves up for not measuring up. (phew!) Yes, it stinks and its exhausting, I know first hand.
What is perfectionism?
We may have been taught that its a good thing, somehow over the last generation it got confused with excellence.
Perfectionism is not excellence. It is setting impossible standards, zeroing in on what is missing, focusing on how we are not ‘there’ yet.
It’s depriving ourselves of love until we reach a future goal – promising ourselves we will feel better when we are slimmer, when we reach the next promotion, when our hair grows out, when we finally get to organize all the closets in our home.
It is the practice of delaying our happiness because we don’t measure up yet because we are not ‘there’ – the unrealistic goal.
Of course when we do get ‘there’, we don’t celebrate too hard, if at all, because we conclude it wasn’t a worthy enough goal.
We change the criteria. We will be happy when we lose the next 5 pounds, the next promotion, when we die our hair, or when we move house – we change the destination of happiness so we never reach it.
If this sounds like you, if you have been told you are too hard on yourself, but you think you just have high standards. If you are exhausted but are telling yourself you will be ‘there’ soon (but are also kinda onto yourself about the moving goal post thing), then you are probably a perfectionist – and no, it isn’t a good thing.
Its based on the thinking that at some point in time there will be a perfect, kodak moment, picket fence life with a perfect red bow on it, that you can post on instagram and say…I did it!! phew!
Life moves on though, past the accomplishment and is both messy and wonderful. Working through this thinking, how it is hurting you and likely others around you is such a valuable and rewarding experience. I can say so wholeheartedly, as a recovering perfectionist myself.
Here are some thoughts to get you thinking until we talk more:
=> The opposite of perfectionism is character, uniqueness and personal growth.
=> We are all hot messes – no exceptions (so consider giving up the goal of pretending to have it all together)
=> Where did you learn that perfectionism was a positive thing? (parents? sibling comparison?)
=> Who’s attention did you want or feel the need to prove yourself to as a child?
=> Notice and replace negative self-talk with “I’m doing the best I can with what I know to be true right now and that has to be enough”
=> Forgive yourself, as you would a friend.
=> Practice some mindset affirmations that open and retrain your mind from perfectionism (check out mindset affirmations under free resources)
=> **Be kind to yourself!!**