Overcoming Perfectionism

I use to say I was a perfectionist, not because I was. But when someone tells you they are perfectionists what they really want you to believe is that they are an expert at what they do and who they are, and they don’t want anyone to see anything less than that. What is disappointing about this phenomena is that there’s no such thing as perfect. So where there is perceived perfection, there is deception. In a microwave culture where we can get anything fast– a culture of instant gratification, our brains search for the standard at which to measure our looks, our success, our art, our relationships, our family, our fashion, our cooking, etc. Measurement helps us to understand where we rank among the masses.  Perfectionism robs us of authenticity and perpetuates inadequacy. A standard is important, but it should always be the standard that reveals your personal convictions. When we follow our convictions, we can lead a whole life. We each have the power to hold ourselves accountable through self-discipline and consistency, but there’s no room for perfection.  If you are a perfectionist, you possess  atleast one of 4 of these characteristics:

Where there is perceived perfection, there is deception

1. The Self- Righteous One

So lets say you’ve listened to your convictions and developed the self-discipline to remove distractions from your life, practice self- discipline, overcome roadblocks and have had the privilege to accomplish a few of your life goals. And you’re still working. Now there is nothing wrong with this, this is where we all should be. Where this mindset becomes an issue is when you look down on others who do not have the same convictions as you. Success plus self-righteousness is a recipe for hurt and resentment from those you care about. You may see this a lot with those who have strong beliefs: religious folk, vegans, fitness gurus, etc. You develop an attitude of “this is perfect  for me, so it must be perfect for you too.” And when others do not subscribe to your lifestyle, you cut them off or develop a mentality of I’m right your wrong and create an environment for others that lack love. Always follow your convictions, but listen to others, cultivate empathy and understand that everyone’s story is different. Humility is key, because we all including “The Self- Righteous One” makes mistakes. So understand those who have similar convictions will be inspired by the fruit of your life. You won’t have to convince them.

2. The One Who  Never Feels Good Enough

A great segway from “The Self- Righteous One” is the one who struggles with inadequacy. Your consistent, you’ree disciplined,  you are doing incredible things, but you still don’t feel like its enough. You are always focused on the areas that you need to improve upon and never give yourself room to celebrate the areas where you’ve grown. You are the epitome of a perfectionist, always looking for self-help books, spending hours listening to podcasts to understand “what’s wrong with me.” While growth is vital–as you should know. You are afraid that you are constantly missing the mark. This attitude breeds insecurity, you’ll never truly be fulfilled because you don’t know how to embrace the moment. Give yourself the opportunity to celebrate who you are, just as you are. Don’t think about what more you have to do–appreciate where you are in life at this very moment.

3.  The Procrastinator

Not the I’ll do it tomorrow procrastinator, who actually gets it done because they work well under pressure. I’m talking about the one who has been putting off that project,  that business, quitting the job, etc. for months, years. You are an expert on excuses. You’ve overused idioms such as “when the time is right,” “in God’s timing.”  Or you insist that when you do it, “it must be perfect.”  You’ll never do it then because it won’t be perfect. The time to do it is now. Are you convicted to do it? Do you think about it more than 50 percent of your day?  Then it is time. Life is too precious to wait for a moment. The moment will never come. Nothing is in your way, but you.

4. The One Who Constantly Compares and Competes

You’re on your path, but you can’t help but look to the left and to the right. You constantly want to see how you’re measuring up to those who have similar paths. The culture that we live in is fighting for you to look at someone else’s life and say, “what am I doing with my life?” You’re anxious and on edge, because you don’t feel like you measure up or you’re working to gain validation. You want it for the wrong reasons. You’re not following your convictions in life, but your insecurity wants you to do what everyone else is doing. The problem with that is you are unique and you can’t do what she/he is doing. You’ll fail. You are designed with unique convictions, a unique story, unique talents that when come they together make you who you are. Spend time loving yourself. Read more on competition and comparison.

5. The Impatient One

When you’ve subscribed to a culture that only shows the “perfect” moments. Instagram models and their perfect meals, invite-only events, job opportunities, etc. Fitness models and their perfect bodies, bloggers with thousands of followers, etc. You fall into the trap of wanting what they have fast. If you are reading this and saying well I’ve done/avoided everything you said, and I’m still not getting the results. Then you’re lacking patience. The overnight success stories we are indoctrinated with as a culture are not overnight success stories. Your favorite figures, put in time, money, sacrifice to get to where they are. Know that if your intentions are pure, you will soon reach the heights you are intended to reach. Just be patient.

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Originally Published October 2018