Perfectionism is the perfect coping mechanism for the many of us who have our worth tied to something external. It ensures that we're forever striving to improve ourselves at the cost of our wellbeing. Still, it's regarded as a positive trait in our society.
The Reality of Perfectionism
Perfectionism is sneaky. It often shows up disguised as various things like overachieving, people pleasing, being extremely detail oriented & meticulous, etc. It can even show up as procrastination. We put off what we want to do because of less than ideal conditions… or so we tell ourselves.
It might not seem like perfectionism is an unhealthy behaviour at first glance, but it does come at a heavy cost. When we create or work on something with the anxious energy of it being good enough for the outside eye, it loses some of its authenticity. This is a shame because we need more authenticity in our world. When we give into perfectionism, we’re watering ourselves down to fit into a narrow mould. Why not make our own unique moulds instead?
Additionally, we also lose out on the joys that come from being fully present in what we do. You know what I’m talking about - the euphoric flow state that takes over when we’re completely immersed in our work. Worrying about a future outcome while you work means you're missing out on the valuable experience + insights that you get from being present & mindful. This anxious state of mind we’re in is often portrayed & evident in our work. Wouldn't it be so much more rewarding to have your work radiate your authenticity & confidence instead?
Reclaiming the Meaning of Perfection
YOU get to decide what perfect means to you. Reflect on your beliefs about perfectionism. You don’t have to subscribe to an unhealthy & oppressive set of rules to be good enough. It doesn’t have to look like someone else’s definition of perfect.
The more I heal, the kinder I am to myself. I’ve realized that It’s not exactly kind to pressure myself into meeting certain conditions in order to be good enough. So to me, being perfect simply means that I show up with presence & authenticity. It also means that I give myself compassion when I’m not being present or authentic. You are welcome to borrow this perspective.
Your Need to Be Perfect is Extremely Valid
If you feel called out, I'm a recovering perfectionist and I get it. We (especially as women) are heavily socialized to neglect our needs & desires to meet unrealistic expectations from society. It also doesn't help that we live in capitalist structures. They constantly tell us that our worth is tied to how much & how well we can do something. So be kind & gentle with yourself as you unlearn these limiting narratives/beliefs. See it as an act of quiet, yet powerful rebellion against these oppressive structures.
You can even thank your perfectionism for helping you cope when you needed it. It’s understandable that you didn't know there were healthier ways to deal with expectations, criticism & rejection. Now that you know there are better ways to cope, you don't have to resort to it any longer. It’s time to let perfectionism go & allow presence to take its place.
This is your permission slip to experience the joy of taking messy action.