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How to Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a funny thing. If you Google perfectionism, you’ll find all sorts of questions to help you determine if you are, indeed, a perfectionist. If you’re like me, you’ll find that some of those questions are a direct hit on your personality–and others don’t describe you at all! 

I’m a lifelong perfectionist. For the past few years, I’ve been actively trying to “overcome” my perfectionism…but it’s not easy. Everything in me kicks and screams when I make the conscious choice to let something go that I desperately want to fix or control. 

Elsa gives us perfectionists the best tip for overcoming perfectionism…and that, of course, is to LET IT GO. It’s scary to let it go. It’s uncomfortable to give up control. But it can also be liberating. Letting go is almost like a muscle–the more I “use” it, the better/stronger I get at doing it. When I let it go and things turn out okay, I’m teaching myself it’s okay to let something else go!

Becoming less of a perfectionist is hard work! We can’t ever fully overcome perfectionism–it will always be inside of us, at least a little bit. But we can learn to embrace our messy, imperfect sides and watch how it all plays out. 

Where does your perfectionism show up? In a perfectly clean home? Maybe like me, your home is never perfectly clean. Because you CAN’T have it look how you want, you feel anxious and you spend every moment you have chasing after the clean home that just. never. happens.  It eats at you because you try so hard every single day…only to fail. 

Or maybe your perfectionism shines through while you’re at work. You work harder and longer than anyone else. You don’t stop to grab a drink of water, or say hello to a co-worker. You’re too busy chasing the task at hand to spend even 3 minutes taking care of you and your needs.

Maybe you strive to be the perfect spouse/partner/parent/friend. You give and give and give of yourself because that’s what “perfect you” does, even when it’s harming you. 

Learning to overcome perfectionism takes dedication–to doing and being LESS. It requires a mental shift that you are still worthy and loved, even when you aren’t performing at the highest level. When you aren’t performing at all. Work on loving yourself when you are just…being…and not DOING. Correct your inner voice when it yells at you to accomplish more/faster. Let your inner voice know that you’ll be determining how to proceed, not him/her.

Overcoming perfectionism also requires mistakes. It requires you to do things you might find risky because you aren’t the best at them. When you try those things, it’s likely you’ll falter and fumble. Remind yourself that it is okay. Learning and growing is imperfect by its very nature! So think of the thing that you’ve always wanted to do but never did because you feared failure. Go do that thing!!! And when it doesn’t go according to how “perfectionist you” said it should–remind yourself that is EXACTLY where the growth is happening. It might not be perfect, but it’s worth it. And so are you.

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