Suffering with the need to be perfect is debilitating to say the very least. Having this expectation of ourselves and accepting this “trait” is the equivalent to signing off on a contract for a very unpleasant life. Because, the sad truth about perfectionism, is that it doesn’t actually give you what you want. It will never manage to satisfy or fill you up inside no matter how hard we try.
This is, firstly, because the goal is unachievable and, secondly, being perfect is probably not what you are longing for in the first place. Nobody actually wants to be perfect because nobody really knows what that means! But people want to feel loved and appreciated, needed and adored, because these are feelings that can be measured and genuinely felt at the core of your being.
People who deal with the need to be perfect have subconsciously told themselves that this is the key to getting love and approval from others. Therefore, we fear that making a mistake will result in someone leaving or being disappointed in us. This is because we have not yet learned how to love ourselves enough and cannot deal with the guilt and shame that comes with these feelings.
Practice self-awareness : The biggest tip which I have learnt when it comes stopping the need to be perfect is practicing self-awareness. This means catching those overly-critical thoughts and recognising that they are not coming from my true self, but rather a place of fear.
Challenge your thoughts : I question why am being so hard on myself and if it is actually necessary and rational, which it never is. By questioning your thoughts, it becomes possible to find the root of why you are so scared of making a mistake.
Parent yourself : I then put myself in someone else’s shoes, eg. A loved one or family member. I imagine how I would comfort them if they had made a mistake and were being overly-critical of themselves. This helps because it is always easier to sit as an outsider but often, when we mess up in some way, we ourselves become the worst judge of all.
Take a step back: After imagining what you would say to a loved one in this situation, then you have to apply to yourself. When you take a step back and begin talking yourself through the situation, it is easier to see the bigger picture and the “mistake” you made starts to look more and more insignificant.
Trusting life: Lastly, and probably the hardest one for me, is learning to trust life. When we have a need to control everything, it is impossible to go with the flow of life. We still have to learn to do our best where we can and continue to grow, but it is also important to accept that mistakes are going to be made, because we are human, and that certain things aren’t in our control.