Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough? That you have to be perfect to be accepted? If so, you’re not alone. Perfectionism is something that a lot of people struggle with.
In fact, according to data collected in the U.K, the U.S, and Canada, between 1989 and 2016, perfeсtionism among young people has increased by 33%. That’s a staggering number, and it’s only growing.
This mental health issue can cause many problems in your life, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and substance abuse. It can also lead to social isolation, as perfectionists tend to compare themselves to others and feel like they’re not good enough.
So, what is the root cause of perfectionism? And how can you overcome it?
In this article, we’ll explore perfectionism in-depth and provide you with 11 easy steps to help you let go of perfectionism for good!
Keep reading to learn more.
What Is the Root Cause of Perfectionism?
The root cause of perfectionism varies from person to person. For some, it may be due to the way they were raised. Perfectionistic parents often have high expectations for their children and may have been critical of them growing up. As a result, their children may have developed perfectionistic tendencies as well.
For others, perfectionism may be due to trauma or a significant life event. For example, if someone was ridiculed for not being perfect in their younger years, they may have developed perfectionistic tendencies as a way to cope with the trauma.
No matter the root cause, perfectionism is often driven by the fear of not being good enough. Perfectionists have a fear of failure and are often their own worst critics. They may feel they have to be perfect to be accepted and may strive for perfection in all areas of their life.
Perfectionist tendencies can be difficult to overcome, but it’s important to remember that perfectionism is a mental health issue, and it is possible to recover.
How to Overcome Perfectionism: 11 Practical Tips
Overcoming perfectionism is not always easy, but it is possible. Here are 11 steps to help you let go of perfectionism:
1. Identify Your Perfectionistic Tendencies
The first step to overcoming perfectionism is to identify your perfectionistic tendencies.
Do you have high standards for yourself? Do you compare yourself to others? Do you strive for perfection in all areas of your life? You might be a perfectionist if you answered yes to any of these questions.
Once you have identified your perfectionistic tendencies, you can work on overcoming them.
2. Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations
One of the biggest challenges for a recovering perfectionist is letting go of unrealistic standards. We often expect too much from ourselves and others, and when these expectations are not met, we can become disappointed, frustrated, and even angry.
It is important to remember that nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes, and that’s okay. Letting go of unrealistic expectations will help you be more accepting of yourself and others.
To let go of unrealistic expectations, try to focus on the positive aspects of yourself and others. Everyone has positive and negative qualities, so try to focus on the positive.
3. Practice Self-Compassion
One of the most important things you can do to overcome perfectionism is to practice self-compassion. When we are hard on ourselves, we are more likely to be perfectionists. Learning to be kind and understanding towards yourself will help you reduce negative self-talk and improve self-esteem.
When you make a mistake, try to be understanding and compassionate instead of beating yourself up. Ask yourself, “What would I say to a friend in this situation?” and then say those same things to yourself.
4. Seek Out Support
Seeking out support from family and friends is another crucial step in overcoming perfectionism. When we feel alone, we are more likely to be hard on ourselves. Talking to someone who understands and can offer support and encouragement can be very helpful.
If you don’t have anyone in your life who can offer support, there are many online support groups for perfectionists. Join one of these groups, and you can connect with others who are going through the same thing.
5. Practice Self-Confidence
Let’s face it; perfectionists tend to lack self-confidence. We are so focused on our flaws and mistakes that we forget all of the great things about ourselves.
To build self-confidence, it is essential to focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Make a list of things you are proud of and refer to it when you feel down about yourself.
In addition, try to do one thing every day that makes you feel good about yourself. This can be something as simple as taking a bubble bath or writing in your journal.
6. Give Yourself a Break
There’s no such thing as a perfect life. We all have ups and downs, so giving yourself a break is essential. Don’t try to be perfect if you’re having a bad day. Just take a deep breath and relax.
When you feel overwhelmed, take a break from whatever you’re doing. Take a few deep breaths and try to relax. You don’t have to do everything at once, so take your time and focus on one thing at a time.
7. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
One of the worst things you can do as a perfectionist is to compare yourself to others. We often compare ourselves to others we perceive as better than us. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
Remember that everyone is different and that there is no such thing as a perfect person. We all have our own unique strengths and weaknesses. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on being the best you can be.
8. Allow Yourself to Make Mistakes
Yes, it’s true. Mistakes are a part of life. But as perfectionists, we often see mistakes as failures. This can lead to social anxiety and a fear of taking risks.
It is important to remember that making mistakes is part of the learning process. If you never make any mistakes, you will never learn and grow. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Deep inside, many perfectionists believe they should be able to do everything independently. Asking for help is often seen as a sign of weakness.
But the truth is, we all need help from time to time. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. In fact, it is a sign of strength.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends. You may also want to seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor.
10. Be Patient with Yourself
Many recovering perfectionists are rigid with themselves when it comes to progress. They expect to see results immediately and get frustrated when they don’t.
Progress takes time. Do you know the saying, “Slow and steady wins the race?” This is true when it comes to overcoming perfectionism. When you put intense pressure on yourself, it only makes things worse. So be patient with yourself and take things one step at a time.
11. Learn How to Receive Criticism
Criticism is something that every perfectionist dreads. We are so afraid of being judged that we often try to avoid criticism at all costs.
But the truth is that criticism is a part of life. You can’t please everyone all the time, so you will inevitably receive some criticism throughout your life.
The key is to learn how to accept criticism constructively. When someone criticizes you, try to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Overcoming perfectionism is a journey. It takes time, effort, and patience. But it is definitely possible to let go of perfectionism and live a happy and fulfilling life.
Setting impossible standards for yourself will only lead to disappointment. So take things one step at a time and be patient with yourself. Remember that mistakes are part of the learning process. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
If you are struggling with perfectionism, seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor. They can provide the support and guidance you need to overcome this condition.
Is Perfectionism a Form of Anxiety?
Yes, perfectionism is a form of anxiety. It is often characterized by intense fear and worry. People with perfectionism often have difficulty relaxing and tend to be very hard on themselves.
What Disorder Is Associated With Perfectionism?
Several disorders are associated with perfectionism, including social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and eating disorders.
Can You Recover From Perfectionism?
Yes, it is possible to recover from perfectionism. It takes time, effort, and patience. But it is definitely possible to let go of the negative thoughts and behaviours associated with perfectionism.
How Can We Stop Extreme Perfectionism?
To stop extreme perfectionism, it is crucial first to identify the root cause of your perfectionism. Once you know what is driving your perfectionism, you can begin to work on addressing those issues.
There are also several things you can do to let go of perfectionism, including:
- Setting realistic goals for yourself
- Avoiding procrastination
- Learning to accept mistakes
- Practising self-compassion
- Seeking professional help from a therapist or counsellor
Is Extreme Perfectionism a Mental Illness?
While perfectionism is not a mental illness, it can often lead to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. If you are struggling with perfectionism, it is crucial to seek professional help.