5 Ways To Overcome Perfectionism And Be Happier

overcome perfectionism
Does everything you do need to be perfect? Do you find anything less than ‘perfect’ unacceptable?

Do you find it hard to let others do the tasks, and instead micro-manage them? Do you live in constant fear of criticism? Are you afraid of failing your sky-high standards?

Are You A Perfectionist?

If you answered Yes to any of those above, then you might be one. And that shouldn’t necessarily be something to be proud of. While it’s healthy to want to succeed in life and achieve your goals, it’s not at all the same to always set hefty, unattainable standards for yourself, or others.

By the way, most perfectionists do not identify themselves as perfectionists.

Perfectionism is defined by negative and obsessive tendencies. Perfectionism can put you at a higher risk of harboring anger, anxiety, hopelessness, and depression. It can harm your life and your relationships.

Being a perfectionist is a lot like being a high achiever, although the two should not be confused. Being a high achiever is by far better for your health, and will ultimately leave you happier. But not so with perfectionists. They rob themselves of their peace of mind and enjoyment of life while going along the way.

While high achievers do go to great lengths to achieve their goals, perfectionists are restless control-freaks.

Perfectionists are restless control-freaks prone to anger, hopelessness, and depression. Click To Tweet

Perfectionism can actually hold you back in life — not only from achieving and finishing what you are doing, for fear it will never be perfect, but also from never starting in the first place (that is, they procrastinate). This is because as a perfectionist, we are too afraid whatever we do will never be enough. So we never even try. It ultimately drains our self-esteem and leaves us stuck in an endless spiral of negativity.

Having an ‘all or nothing’ approach to life, and beating yourself up for your failures or those of others, will never get you anywhere. At the end of the day, no one is perfect, and the sooner we all accepted that and loved ourselves — and others — regardless of our perceived ‘imperfections’, the better the world would be.

5 Tips To Overcome Perfectionism

But don’t worry. You can overcome these negative traits, and find a balance in your life. Though the transition may take time and effort, ridding yourself of the burden of perfectionism will ultimately improve your life in a great way. So for those suffering from perfectionism, here is a list of 5 tips to overcome your perfectionism and become happier today.

  1. Get Self-aware
  2. Beat The Negative Self-talk
  3. Forgive Yourself For Your Mistakes
  4. Change Your Attitude Towards Criticism
  5. Enjoy The Process

1. Get Self-aware

Becoming aware of your tendencies is key to overcoming it, as you may not even have realized how much perfectionism has intruded into your life. You may want to consider recording your thoughts so you can see how many of those in a day are laced with perfectionist tones. If you can’t do this throughout the day, you could at least do it at the end of the day. This lets you become more conscious of your thought-patterns throughout the next day. Just don’t feel like you’ve ‘failed’ if you don’t have time to do this — try another day.

2. Beat The Negative Self-talk

Those who struggle with perfectionism will often realize they have patterns of negative thoughts relating to activities and interactions throughout the day.

“You may realize that they have a critical voice in their head telling them that nothing they do is good enough, that they’re not trying hard, and that they are not enough. It’s critical to alter your self-talk and not let that ‘voice in your head’ bring you down all the time,” says Elisa M. Lee, a lifestyle writer.

Having a constant mantra of ‘I am such a failure’ or ‘I can’t do anything right’ inside your head only causes you to be stuck in a self-loathing cycle, never moving past the mistakes. You may not realize it, but perfectionism, low self-esteem, and even self-hatred, go hand in hand. So be careful what you say to yourself, because the harshest things we hear about us are often from ourselves.

Becoming aware of your inner-voice and consciously challenging its negative patterns can go a long way to boost your self-esteem and happiness.

3. Forgive Yourself For Your Mistakes

What if we were as forgiving of ourselves as we often are of others? Sure, you may have messed something up — maybe you didn’t secure the deal in work you wanted, score a 50% on a test, or been the best son/daughter. But at a certain point, you have to accept that you are human. And humans make mistakes.

Why not, instead, forgive your mistakes and tell yourself you learnt from them? Constantly beating yourself up over failure means that you don’t get to move on and focus on the important things in your life. Just take the learning, and move on.

Besides, know this: no one really remembers your failures; only you do. So, no one will reject you if you aren’t perfect. Things often don’t go to plan. By holding onto pain, guilt, or shame (or all three), just makes it worse. Set human standards for yourself, and don’t label yourself as a ‘failure’. Everyone has flaws — how we overcome them makes us who we are.

4. Change Your Attitude Towards Criticism

Do you know how to handle criticism? If you are always reacting defensively to criticism, rather than taking it into account and attempting to mend errors, you may need to change your take on criticism. Accepting you are a human, with flaws, allows you to actually alter them and listen to what others say. This leads to progress, rather than being stuck in a cycle of poor performance and viewing criticism as an attack. Sometimes, the harshest criticism can actually greatly help us. Just remember that mistakes are an excellent way to learn.

5. Enjoy The Process

Perfectionists often focus on the end-game — and kill some part of themselves trying to make it a perfect ending. “To overcome perfectionism, try to live more in the present, and enjoy the process of what you are working towards. Maybe you could consider journaling about how you feel as you work towards a goal, and how much you learn on the way. Or, you could join a group of like-minded people (for example, a group learning the same language as yourself),” says Harry Robinson, a productivity writer. Discussing the enjoyable quirks of the process often go a long way to assuage perfectionism and rushing towards the end. And, if you don’t feel you’ve achieved ‘perfection’, you can look back on your journal or new friends, and realize how much you have gained.

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Author Bio: Michael Dehoyos is is an editor and content marketer at PhD Kingdom and Academic Brits. He helps companies in their marketing strategies and contributes to several sites and publications. He also writes for Thesis Help service blog.

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