By: Julie, Sekachev, M. Ed, LPC Associate Do you struggle with perfectionism? Do you find yourself chasing impossible standards? Striving for that “perfect” body, that Pinterest dream house, exceptional grades, a promotion at work, etc. You almost feel like success is just around the corner, that if you only get that next big thing you […]
Do you struggle with perfectionism? Do you find yourself chasing impossible standards? Striving for that “perfect” body, that Pinterest dream house, exceptional grades, a promotion at work, etc. You almost feel like success is just around the corner, that if you only get that next big thing you can relax, but it seems like that “it” is something outside of yourself that you never quite reach. Sometimes the expectations you put on yourself and others are so high that you often find yourself procrastinating out of fear of failure. If you constantly find yourself criticizing yourself or others, read on to discover ways to break free.
What is perfectionism?
Perfectionism is the need to be or appear perfect. Perfectionism can happen when we place pressure on ourselves or others to live up to impossible standards we create. Striving for perfectionism can be stressful and can lead to burnout, lack of motivation, anxiety, fatigue, and procrastination.
Dangers of Perfectionism
There is nothing wrong with setting goals and expectations, but when we are highly self-critical or negative, even after our goals are met, we can run into problems.
Setting impossible standards can lead to hopelessness because we cannot accomplish what we expect of ourselves because perfection does not exist.
Perfection can also lead to negative self-talk. You may begin to think “What is wrong with me?” Or “Why can’t I keep up” but the reality is that even if perfection was achieved at a certain point, standards for what is perfect may change over time.
When we chase impossible standards, we may begin to avoid challenges all together, or do things we already know we are good at, which can stop our creativity.
Expecting perfection of others can cause us to appear judgmental and not accepting of other’s flaws which make them truly unique. Our relationships with others can also be affected because we are not being genuine, but just appearing to others how we think they want us to look or be.
Daring to be Imperfect: Tips to Break Free
Define the meaning behind the object you are chasing
What will it mean to you when you reach the perfect job, weight, etc. what does that say about you? Focusing on your inner needs can help you understand what you are truly after. Make a list and explore what your values are, what are you trying to avoid, what are the consequences of perfectionism, what are you losing (time with friends, sleep, well-being, etc.). Evaluate the costs of chasing perfection and think of some benefits of modifying your expectations.
Allow imperfect time without any expectations
Pick an activity that you enjoy and be mindful of staying in the present moment. Let go of the need to share your results with others. For example, if you enjoy drawing, try to draw just for the way it makes you feel, not for the validation others may give your finished drawing. Allowing for imperfect time can also help you connect with others. When you share your vulnerabilities, you give others permission to do the same allowing room for connection.
Focus on your character, not just accomplishments
Make a list of your good qualities, are you a kind person? Helpful to others? Do you take risks? Are you courageous? Focusing on these qualities can help you realize that you are already good enough, and you don’t need to chase things outside of yourself to complete you.
Challenge negative judgements
Notice moments when you are being hard on yourself. Look for “should statements” in your expectations of yourself and others. Statements like “I should have done better” or “I should always be my best” can cause low self-esteem and depression. Instead of these rigid statements try to look at yourself as a dynamic person, always evolving and growing. Changing the way we look at mistakes and setbacks can help fuel our motivation for progress, not perfection.
Begin Counseling for Perfectionism in Katy, TX
If you are ready to feel like your best self, the therapists at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch can help! We provide counseling for men and women, as well as group counseling. To begin counseling in Katy, TX, follow these three steps:
- Contact our office to set up an appointment or to get more information about counseling for perfectionism and anxiety
- Meet with one of our caring therapists
- Find ways to let go of perfectionism and live your true authentic self!
Other Therapy Services We Offer
Here at The Counseling Center at Cinco Ranch we offer counseling services in areas including: counseling for kids, counseling for young adults, teen counseling, couples counseling, eating disorder treatment, men’s issues, women’s issues, anxiety treatment, depression therapy, trauma counseling, family therapy, and group counseling. Our therapists strive to regularly post blogs with helpful information on a variety of mental health topics. To learn more about our therapists and our counseling services, please reach out to the Counseling Center today!