Are you a perfectionist?

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Do you see yourself as a perfectionist? Although you may
think that is a positive attribute you are about to learn
the truth about perfectionism. There are many undesirable
perfectionism can have on your self worth value, and
confidence.

Perfectionism is ego based belief, where one needs things
to be perfect and or tries to be perfect. Although there
can be a sense of accomplishment or mastery when you get
something done perfectly, perfectionism gets in the way of
your happiness and especially self-confidence. Trying to
be perfect and do things perfectly is very draining and
unrealistic. You start to believe this illusion that you
can control life. The fact of the matter is you can not
control life and what happens in life. However, you can
choose how you experience life. You can try figuring out
how to make things "perfect" or you can go with the flow
and be flexible.

Perfectionism is a pattern I have dealt with in my own
life. What I have learned from my own experience and
working with many women on this issue that trying to be
perfect or do things perfectly is a way to validate and
your self worth and value. You evaluate the external
things in your life and see them as reflection of you. So
if you get something "right" or "perfect" you feel good
about yourself. If you don't get it perfect you judge and
criticize yourself. Hence, you feel less than or
inadequate.

It is impossible to be perfect and when you focus your
energy on trying to be and do perfect things a lot of
pleasure is taking out of life. It is good to be prepared
and to do your best. However, being consumed with the idea
of doing things perfectly leads you to self imposed
judgment and criticism. So many of my clients will not
even start projects or put off working on their goals
because they are overwhelmed by their thoughts and fears
about what it will take to do something and do it
perfectly. They feel so much pressure and they do not want
to fail that is becomes easier to not even try. I spend
time re-training my clients to stop focusing on how it
should look and detach from the outcome and instead focus
on enjoying the process.

Imagine how different you would feel if you were studying
for a test and you viewed studying as a game? "How can I
remember the most or I how well can I do?" Versus "I need
to get an A, otherwise I am not good enough or I am a
failure." When I was in college I would cry when I got
anything less than an A. That is how much of a
perfectionist I was; it ruled my life and way of being.
When I did not get things done perfectly I felt horrible
about myself. Boy, I was so serious; I can remember many
times not being much fun to be around. I was like a
ticking time bomb. I felt so much pressure to perform and
spent so much time criticizing and judging myself. Now I
am no longer consumed with this need to be perfect and my
life is so much more fulfilling and rewarding. I even
laugh when I think back to that time in my life when I was
miserable.

Apply this to a work situation; imagine viewing a project
or an assignment as an opportunity to learn more. As a
challenge but at the same time knowing the end result does
not validate who you are. What if you gave up trying to
make it perfect so that you will look good in front of your
colleagues? When you get your self worth and value from
with in and you commit to giving your best, you evaluate
the outcomes and results without making it mean something
personal about you. You still feel good about yourself and
the experience.

Let's say you go on a job interview but you do not get the
job. The perfectionist person may make it mean something
about them personally and say "I am not good enough." A
more accurate statement may be "I need to learn more about
xyz and then I will be able to get a job like that." "Right
now I do not know enough about xyz but once I learn I will
be capable of that position." In the second statement you
do not make it mean something about who you or are not, it
only has to do with facts.

Let go of trying to make things perfect and focus on what
would bring you the most joy. You will get so much fun and
pleasure out of life when you do not have a rigid view of
what a perfect life should look like or how you should be.
I had to learn how to get my self worth and value from with
in and focus on doing things with pleasure. At first I
feared doing this because I thought I would not get as much
done and less results if I gave up trying to be perfect. I
realized I still got the same if not better outcomes and
results in my life. And what was even better was that I
was not miserable anymore I really started enjoy life. The
way I viewed my body, intelligence, relationships, and
career, transformed and instead of seeing what I needed to
do to make them perfect, I started feel grateful and
accepting for what I already had in those areas of my life.

Your assignment: First, give yourself a brake; do not be so
hard on yourself. Second, start noticing when your mind
gets wrapped up in trying to making something perfect.
Thoughts that are focused on what is lacking do not move
you forward. Instead let go of making it perfect and
refocus on how you can experience pleasure in what you are
doing. How can you get the most out of the experience?
Commit to giving your best and identify how you would you
be if you were giving your best? You would probably be
inquisitive, flexible, fully committed, accepting, and
satisfied. Breaking the pattern of perfectionism takes
time and patience but the rewards are endless. You feel
inspired and gain a new sense of confidence about yourself.

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