Is your need for perfection ruining your body image? In this article we will explore how to tell if you are a perfectionist and ways of eliminating the need to always be perfect.
What is perfectionism? It is defined as the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. A person suffering from perfectionism believes that others are always judging them and finding them wanting. So they strive to do everything in such away that there can be no room for criticism. The ironic twist to this is that the perfectionist is extremely critical of others. They cannot accept in others what they find objectionable in themselves. So while they are striving for approval they cannot give it to others.
The person who suffers from perfectionism will often set unattainable goals for themselves. When they fail to achieve these goals they may become anxious or depressed, this leads them to give up. This failure reinforces their belief that they are not good enough. So they set new goals (again unattainable) and the cycle repeats.
Since the perfectionist hates to fail they often employ two coping mechanisms. The first is procrastination. They become so overwhelmed with projects (and they don’t want to do something wrong), they simply fail to start. On the other hand they may only work on projects where there is a good probability that they will succeed.
So what can a perfectionist do?
See yourself as you are. You are not perfect! The good news is that no one else is either. Realizing that you are the same as everyone else allows you the freedom to make mistakes. Mistakes are an opportunity for learning, they are not failures and do not determine your worth as a human being.
Eliminate the “shoulds” from your life. Thinking that you “should” do something implies that you are doing it out of a sense of guilt. You are doing the action because it is expected of you. Strive to work on tasks with a sense of enjoyment for the process, not the outcome.
Realize that others, who seemingly have success handed to them, have worked hard for their success and they too fail. Do not judge your insides by their outsides. Ask them for their suggestions. Allow others to see your flaws and you may be surprised to discover that they still like you.
Avoid all or nothing thinking. Believing that because you didn’t do one thing perfectly means that you are a failure in all aspects of your life is an example of this type of thinking. Realize that your worth is not determined by how well you succeed at tasks. You are worthy simply by being you.