5 Ways to Eliminate Perfectionism

Are you a perfectionist? Do you expect yourself to perform perfectly or do things perfectly? Do you try to be the perfect mom, wife, daughter, or friend? Does being a perfectionist lead you to feel frustrated, anxious, and disappointed? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be struggling with perfectionism and it could be affecting your mental health and self-esteem. The reason why perfectionism is so problematic for our mental health is that it sets us up to fail, because there is no such thing as perfection. Here are 5 ways to work on eliminating perfectionism and to feel better about yourself.

  1. Ask yourself, “What is reasonably expected of me right now?”

    Many of us think that others have the same expectations for us that we do of ourselves. Most of the time, this is wrong. When you notice expectations of yourself that something has to be done perfectly, ask yourself the following questions,

    “What is reasonably expected of me right now?” What would you expect of someone else in a similar situation? Chances are you would have much more reasonable expectations of someone else than you would of yourself.

    “What is actually in my control that I can do something about?” A lot of us expect ourselves to be capable of superhuman things. It’s always a good idea to remind yourself of what is actually in your control that you can do something about.

  2. Give yourself permission to make mistakes, after-all, you are human!

    A big part of being a perfectionist is believing that you’re not allowed to make mistakes. This belief is incredibly detrimental because it only results in disappointment. As humans, we all make mistakes. We make big mistakes and small mistakes. As humans we are also capable of learning from our mistakes. A much healthier belief to adopt is:

    “I will try my best. It’s okay to make mistakes. I will learn and grow from my mistakes” Tell yourself this statement when you notice anxiety about making a mistake, and see what happens to the anxiety.

  3. Use mindfulness to focus on the present moment instead of the “shoulds” in your mind

    The perfectionist thoughts come from our conditioned self, not the true self. Many of us have “should” and “shouldn’t” thoughts that lead us to have unhealthy expectations of ourselves. If we practice mindfulness, we can focus more on what we are doing in the present moment, instead of the unhealthy thoughts in our head. Focusing on the present moment allows us to connect with our true self and healthy self talk.

  4. Affirm yourself for doing your best

    Instead of judging yourself for not doing something perfectly, try affirming yourself for trying your best. Judging and criticizing yourself will only lead to low self-worth, anxiety, and depression. Affirming and acknowledging what you did do and how you tried your best will increase self-worth and self-esteem.

  5. Acknowledge areas for growth and a plan for learning and growing

    Sometimes people use perfectionism as a way to avoid their own shortcomings. This coping mechanism is harmful because it actually prevents us from learning from our mistakes and growing as people. When we acknowledge our shortcomings we can then address them and grow.

    I hope this post is helpful in learning how to eliminate perfectionism and feel better about yourself. Stay well and healthy and reach out anytime!