Manage Your Perfectionism for Improved Mental Health
Updated: Feb 11
Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it can drive us to reach high goals and strive for excellence. On the other hand, it can also bring us down and make us feel defeated. When we have high expectations for ourselves, it can be difficult to feel satisfied with anything less than perfect. We may constantly feel like we are falling short, even when we are doing our best. Perfectionism can cause anxiety, frustration, anger, and depression, and can make it difficult to finish tasks, trust others, meet deadlines, or do anything spontaneously. The good news is that perfectionism is a trait that can be managed and used positively. Here are some tips for overcoming perfectionism and finding a balance.
Prioritize - Focus on what is truly important and necessary to get done. Avoid getting bogged down with trivial and detail-oriented tasks that don’t add much value. Make a list of your priorities and focus on those.
Be Kind to Yourself - We can be our own worst critic. Try to be more compassionate towards yourself and lower your standards for success. Instead of aiming for 100% perfection, try for 90% or 80%. Write down positive affirmations about yourself and place them where you can see them often.
Embrace Flexibility - Perfectionists often have strict rules and routines. Try breaking out of your comfort zone by taking up a new hobby. This will give you an opportunity to focus on the learning process instead of the end goal and can help you become more relaxed and spontaneous.
Accept Mistakes - Everyone makes mistakes. It’s a natural part of the learning process. When you make a mistake, instead of beating yourself up, try to think of what you can learn from it. This can help you see mistakes as opportunities for growth instead of setbacks.
Challenge Negative Thoughts - Perfectionism often comes with negative thoughts such as “I should never look anxious in front of others,” “I should have known not to do that,” or “If it’s not 100% perfect, I’m a failure.” These thoughts can be damaging and it’s important to challenge them. When you catch yourself having negative thoughts, try to turn them into positive and realistic affirmations.
Therapy can also be an effective tool in managing perfectionism. A therapist can help you understand your perfectionistic tendencies and explore early experiences that may have contributed to them. They can help you identify core beliefs and negative thought patterns, and interrupt negative self-criticism. A therapist can also help you develop a more stable sense of self-worth, improve your self-efficacy, and build resilience to cope with mistakes, criticism, and failure. In conclusion, perfectionism can be a driving force, but it can also hold us back. By prioritizing, being kind to ourselves, embracing flexibility, accepting mistakes, and challenging negative thoughts, we can turn perfectionism into a positive asset. If you find that you are struggling with perfectionism, consider reaching out to a therapist for support. Together, you can work towards a healthier, more balanced approach to life.
Contact us at www.georgetowncouplestherapy.com or call 416 949 9878 to book a no obligation discovery call.