Oh, perfectionism. The monster that keeps us striving for a goal that we can never reach.
I used to be a perfectionist without even knowing it. Looking back, I can see the signs. I was harsh towards myself, thought in extremes, was inflexible in my habits, and felt like I was internally walking on eggshells. Being human – making mistakes, feeling all my emotions, being anything less than my idealized image of who I should be – wasn’t an option.
I started my journey away from perfectionism unintentionally, when I was 15 years old. My first step was to care less about what people thought of me. Often, perfectionists believe others judge them as harshly as they judge themselves. Reframing my focus allowed me to cut myself some slack and free up my energy and enthusiasm. I became way happier.
Cut to today after continuing diligently on my reformation to a non-perfectionist. In my career as a therapist, I get to help others free themselves from the binds of perfectionism. That transformation never gets old – the breaking of the shell, spreading of the wings and taking off. It’s a certain kind of magic and has become a passion of mine.
I decided to create a blog series about how to let go of perfectionist thinking and behaviors. Every post will focus on a different task of dismantling perfectionism, including self-compassion, mistakes, shame & other challenging emotions, aligning with values, gratitude, routines, and more.
Plenty of other writers have described perfectionism, so some helpful links are below. Tune back in the coming weeks and we’ll tackle this beast once and for all!
“9 Signs that you Might be a Perfectionist,” by Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD