We all have moments where we fall into the trap of perfectionism. For some of us, this might happen more often than we like and we can’t let something go because ‘it isn’t quite right yet’.
While attention-to-detail is necessary, it’s when we make perfectionism a way of life where it becomes a problem. That’s when we need to shift our mindset and learn how to let go.
Here are my 5 steps to help you let go of perfectionism:
Start at the Core
This step requires you to be honest with yourself and ask yourself why are you aiming for perfection?
Are you trying to enhance your skills? Or are you trying to impress someone? Or are you potentially trying to meet unspoken expectations of those around you?
Striving to learn and to improve is a positive aim, however if you’re competing with yourself, or burning yourself out to impress others then it’s debatable if this is a healthy ordeal.
Drop the “Should”
The internal language we use can have a dramatic impact on our behaviour and our lives. Spend time consciously observing how you speak to yourself.
Are you berating yourself? Are you harshly judging you own actions? The moment you start using ‘should have’ in your internal dialogue, pause. Challenge that thought, who said you should have? Why? What unspoken rules are you playing to? Next focus on what you can do instead of what you ‘should have’ don!
Remind yourself you don’t need external validation. You’re amazing just by being yourself. You are enough. If you’ve taken an action that has negative consequences, you are strong enough and able enough to take new actions to address the situation.
Rewrite the Script
Step 3 is about changing that internal script that forces you in a negative space with unrealistic expectations. Sometimes this could sound like ‘if I just did this extra bit’ or ‘ it isn’t quite as good as it could be yet’..
When you find yourself falling into the spiral of perfectionism, ask yourself if the path you are on right now, or the task you’re doing this moment, going to lead you to success? Are your expected outcomes realistic? Challenge yourself to come up with a different script that can help you to let go. After all, getting something done and sharing it with the world, is better than keeping it all to yourself.
Drop the Comparisons
One reason we strive for perfection is because we are comparing ourselves and our outcomes with others. Who are you comparing yourself to? Who are you holding up as role models? Are their outcomes realistic for you? Has your comparison become unhealthy, going from “I want to be more like them” to “Why can’t I do everything they do?”
You will feel much better celebrating where you are right now and all the effort you’ve put into things.
Perfection never allows for excuses. If you can’t succeed, you’re automatically a failure. By chasing imperfection, you learn the value of self-forgiveness and the ability to let go of your mistakes in favor of embracing the lessons you can learn from them.
Show Yourself Compassion
Trying to improve or doing your best is a worthwhile endeavour. It gets results. But perfectionism tends to pull us away from others because we are wrapped up in worry and stress about getting things perfect; we negatively impact our own mental and physical health.
It’s time we were compassionate with ourselves. Let’s aim to do our best, but let’s stop when it’s good enough. Because good enough is authentic. And being authentic is what brings joy.
With this in mind, isn’t it time to let go?