Perfectionism is a common trait that many people struggle with. I am one of those people! I have struggled with this trait when having guests to my home, to my classroom when I was a teacher, and it was hard for me to relax and enjoy new hobbies because I was not willing to be seen as bad at something before becoming proficient at it. Can you relate? Perfectionism, the belief that everything must be done perfectly and any mistake is a failure can be very self-defeating and create a ton internal judgement leading to low self-esteem. While striving for excellence is one thing, perfectionism can be paralyzing and lead to anxiety and depression.
Stop trying to be the impossible!
Here are five ways to overcome perfectionism and embrace imperfection.
1. Use Shame to Your Advantage
Shame is a powerful emotion that can be debilitating, but it can also be used to your advantage. Brene Brown, a research professor and author, explains that “shame can’t survive being spoken” in her book Daring Greatly. By acknowledging and vocalizing your feelings of shame, you can release their hold on you. Admitting mistakes and imperfections can be difficult, but it can also be incredibly freeing.
2. Embrace Present Moment Awareness
Perfectionism often involves obsessing over the past or worrying about the future. Practicing present moment awareness can help break this cycle. Eckhart Tolle, a spiritual teacher and author, explains that “realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” By focusing on the present moment, you can appreciate what is happening now instead of worrying about what has already happened or what might happen in the future.
3. Set Realistic Expectations
Perfectionism often involves setting impossibly high expectations for yourself. Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker and coach, advises setting “standards that you’re willing to live by, both personally and professionally.” By setting realistic expectations, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed and disappointed.
4. Practice Self-Compassion
Perfectionists often struggle with self-criticism and negative self-talk. Practicing self-compassion can help counteract these tendencies. Brene Brown explains that “we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.” By treating yourself with kindness and understanding, you can break the cycle of self-judgment.
5. Embrace Imperfection
Finally, it’s important to embrace imperfection. No one is perfect, and striving for perfection is a recipe for disappointment. Eckhart Tolle explains that “the more you recognize the immense good within you, the more you magnetize immense good around you.” By embracing your imperfections and focusing on your strengths, you can attract positivity into your life.
In conclusion, overcoming perfectionism is not easy, but it’s essential for living a happy and fulfilling life. By using shame to your advantage, embracing present moment awareness, setting realistic expectations, practicing self-compassion, and embracing imperfection, you can break free from the cycle of perfectionism and embrace a more fulfilling life. As Tony Robbins says, “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”
Consistently practicing these five strategies can help you overcome perfectionism and live a more joyful, peaceful existence.