Stop Being a Perfectionist!

I’m going to be talking to you about when perfectionism might not be doing you any favours. The downside of being a perfectionist is that it does create additional pressure on you. There are times when that might be useful because stress can be something that really motivates us and if it’s about doing really well or being the best at what you’re doing then it could be motivating you in a really positive way.

However, if you are a perfectionist in areas of your life that you really don’t need to be then perhaps you are putting additional pressure on yourself unnecessarily. It might be worthwhile considering actually thinking in your mind or making a list on paper of all of the things that you aim to do perfectly and then thinking about which ones really do make a difference in your life and whether or not you do them perfectly.

Let’s say, for example, you wanted to be perfect at your schoolwork but you simultaneously wanted to be the perfect friend and you simultaneously wanted to look as good as you possibly could – it might become a bit of an obstacle to try and do those three things simultaneously. If you find that you’re starting to feel under pressure then perhaps you’re applying that perfectionism to many different areas of your life. If your friends don’t care whether you look good or not maybe, you know, every now and again you could not make quite so much effort into making sure that you look dressed up and that your hair is perfect and that your clothes are perfect before you go out. If you’ve got a really chilled-out group of friends then maybe they don’t need you to do quite as much for them as you do.

If you’re someone who constantly jumps in and helps people out as soon as they see some signs of trouble then actually you might be limiting them from learning how to think for themselves by constantly saving people so it might be a good idea to stop being quite so perfect at that and then that frees up a load of time to focus on the things that you perhaps want to focus on!

Another time when it’s useful to drop perfectionism is when it’s not appreciated. If others are only expecting a substandard from you then what’s the point in being perfect in what you do for them? Once upon a time when I used to run training, I would run perfect training events. It was the most perfect training you could possibly wish to attend but something that I came to realise is that people didn’t really appreciate it and it became too much information for them to retain. 

The third example I have for you about when it can be useful to reduce your levels of perfectionism in what you are doing is when it isn’t making you happy to do it.

If you’re going to be perfect at something do it because you’re in a state of creative flow and it makes you happy. If you’re doing it out of stress or pressure then actually the results won’t be as perfect as you might want them to be anyway.

If you’re going to be a perfectionist at least do it in a way that works for you. Make sure that being that perfectionist and doing your absolute best at what you choose to do really serves to make you feel fulfilled and happy. The three things to look out for the times when you need to stop being a perfectionist are when number one it is creating too much additional pressure on you and the stress of it just isn’t worth it. Number two when other people don’t appreciate it anyway and you could be spending your time and energy in better ways and number three when it doesn’t actually make you happy to do it. I’m not telling you to drop perfectionism completely. There are times when the attention to detail will really serve you well but save it for when it is most needed.

By Gemma Bailey

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