Stress is part of our everyday living. From trying to meet tight deadlines to the massive line of household chores to complete at the end of the day, stress is an emotion that many of us experience every single day. While it can be a common emotion most would overlook, it does get to a point where it can get toxic and unhealthy. How we perceive what we are going through heavily affects our stress level. An example of such an unhelpful mindset that we should start working on is that of aiming to be perfect.
The meaning behind perfectionism
Perfectionism refers to a term commonly used to describe someone focused on reaching perfect results. However, it is much more than that. It involves the tendency to prioritise goals that are often unachievable or that can only be achieved with much difficulty.
Perfectionists are people who struggle to correctly perceive situations as they believe that it is considered a failure if they do not attain perfection. Perfectionists have two main motivations in their pursuit: Excellence and avoiding failure. Perfectionism motivated by excellence results in one so driven to achieve extreme achievements that they have incredibly high standards and will do whatever it takes to complete that. On the other hand, perfectionism can also be driven by the fear of failure. They focus on reaching perfection because they are afraid to fail.
Perfectionism is often driven by the pressure that has been set within ourselves. It develops an all-or-nothing attitude, where everything besides being perfect is a failure. Such perception of life stems from a certain point of childhood where results were the key priorities in one’s upbringing. Because of that, they developed the mindset that their self-worth was a direct reflection of their achievements. This leads to the unnecessary and immense development of anxiety and stress.
Signs of perfectionism
- You believe that your achievements determine how worthy you are
- You push aside tasks regularly because you are not confident in perfectly completing them
- You struggle to put across thoughts and opinions in fear that you might be incorrect or perceived as imperfect
- You are never satisfied with the work you have done
- You place unrealistic expectations on yourself and others and stick to idealism
2 Tips on managing perfectionism
1. Turn your self-critical thoughts into realistic and encouraging ones
Perfectionists often are never satisfied with their results and are very self-critical. While you may initially not believe what you tell yourself, you will eventually make positivity a habit by repeating them constantly. It all starts with intentionality to be positive and less self-critical. Such examples include “I have done my best, and that is good enough!”, “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s normal and ok to do so, as long as I learn from them.” and “Everybody experiences a bad day. Do not be too hard on myself.”
2. It is ok not to be perfect as long as you did your best
Achieving excellence is more than achieving the best results. It is about doing your best and being content with the achieved results. You can start by acknowledging that being human means making mistakes and that mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow.
When we are focused on achieving perfection, we are constantly focusing on the negativity of the journey. Allow yourself the opportunity to divert your attention to recognise the positive moments. Do not overlook the mistakes made, but also note not to forget the things we did well and give credit for the achievements. For every unsatisfactory situation, challenge yourself also to appreciate three situations.
Nobody can place any unwanted pressure on yourself unless you allow them to affect you. You are your biggest enemy but also your biggest supporter. Always be kind to, love, and accept yourself for who you are. We, humans, are never made to be perfect, but it is only in our weakness can we grow to be strong.
If you are struggling with perfectionism, and everyday life struggles, consider talking to any of our partnered mental health professionals at A Space Between. We offer some of the best private therapy in Singapore, from private counselling to hypnotherapy. We also provide aesthetic therapy rooms for rent if you are working in a related field and is looking for a small therapy office.
Please head to https://www.aspacebetween.com.sg/ to find out more about who we are.
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