Breaking Free from Perfectionism: How to Be More at Peace?

Perfectionism is a personality trait concerned with striving for perfection, faultlessness, critical self-evaluations, and anxiety about other people’s perceptions.

Although linked to a mindset for excellence, perfectionism heavily dwells on having unrealistic standards. And a perfectionist mind often leads to stress, anxiety, and even depression.

According to this BBC report, perfectionism is associated with depressive symptoms amongst students who feel as though they are falling short of the expectations set by their environments.

This could lead to a sense of uncertainty over their ability to nurture meaningful social relationships.

While there is healthy perfectionism, which motivates you to achieve realistic success, there is also the unhealthy kind.

What is unhealthy perfectionism?

Unhealthy perfectionism is characterized by a negative behavior where a person burdens themselves to achieve perfection and flawlessness, even when the goals set are unattainable and unrealistic. It is also characterized as when people cannot accept defeat and have intense reactions toward failure.

“Being good enough is never enough” is what a perfectionist believes. It becomes an unhealthy obsession to always be “perfect”.

How can people break free from the pressure of perfectionism?

It’s not easy to overcome perfectionism but it is possible. Healing from it must always begin from the inside.

Here’s how you can overcome unhealthy perfectionism and embrace life as it should be.

Know yourself

Self-discovery takes time. To truly “Know yourself” is not as easy as it sounds.

But, the moment you uncover your true personality and acknowledge your perfectionist trait, you’ll become more self-aware.

You must first recognize that you have a perfectionist trait to start making peace with yourself.

When you make an effort in knowing yourself, it makes you understand your emotions and behaviors as well. This will help you self-reflect and make rational decisions.

Change your mindset

Start setting realistic goals this time. Instead of pushing yourself to the brim in the name of success, why not take small manageable steps?

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, it will only cause you mental and physical stress and you will not be able to perform at your best and deliver good results.

Learn to let go of perfectionistic thoughts. You can still grow and strive for success without sabotaging yourself.

Accept your imperfections

No one is and no one will ever be perfect, or remain unflawed… And that is the truth.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you make a mistake, fail, or even miscalculate. It’s all part of the process, and of course, your progress.

Accepting that you can be wrong is a humble admission that you are not always right. Always be humble and teachable.

Embrace self-acceptance and compassion

Friedrich Nietzsche said that “You are your own worst enemy”.

We tend to be critical of ourselves because it gives us the ability to control and cope with any situation.

Dwelling with negativity for too long clouds our minds with bad thoughts which prevents us from enjoying life and reaching our full potential.

Accepting our true selves, including all the bad and the unlikeable, is for our well-being.

The moment you treat yourself with compassion, you’ll be able to understand that being highly critical of yourself only ruins your chance to grow as an individual.

One mistake does not mean you fail at everything or define you wholly. So, show compassion to yourself.

Seek help and support

While it is true that change must begin with you, support and understanding from your family, friends, and loved ones will greatly help you.

Also, seeking advice from a professional will help you gain expert insight about yourself.
The world is a venue for improvement and change. Even the golden saying goes, “Nobody’s perfect”, a precise truism indeed. Take every single day as a learning opportunity.

Remember that you don’t have to sacrifice your well-being, your sanity, and your happiness for the brief moment you call “perfection”.

When perfectionism starts to take hold of your mental and social performance, then you will need expert help to break free from it.

At Mid Cities Psychiatry, our clinical staff is equipped with the right tools and approaches to help you appreciate life more. Visit us today!

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