How To Manage Your Perfectionism | 6 Tips

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As a double-edged sword, perfectionism can easily hold you back from your best potential. There's nothing wrong with trying to achieve the best that you can. However, perfectionism comes from the need to be in complete control. It comes from the need to achieve unrealistic standards, in which you're going to burn yourself out from achieving. While perfectionism can motivate you to achieve great things, it does more harm than good. Trying to meet your own expectations and standards aren't bad. The toxicity lies in pushing yourself beyond what you're capable of, in order to meet your perfect standards. In result, this messes up your mindset, health, and your overall life. 


Why does perfectionism exist?

When you're a perfectionist, you often have this unhealthy need to control certain outcomes in your life. Perfectionism allows you to avoid failure and mistakes, at all costs. In fact, you'll do everything just to avoid failure. You obsess over even the simplest of details and you'll do everything to achieve your own expectations. Studies have proven that perfectionism comes from fear and insecurity. Since you're afraid of the outcome of failure, perfectionism exists in your life. You constantly dwell on trying to get everything right, even when your own expectations are unrealistic. Various perfectionists worry that by being complacent in things, it leads to poor performance and this will reflect negatively in their progress of things. Perfectionists are extreme over-achievers and they burn every ounce of energy they have just to meet their standards of perfection. 


How do you manage your perfectionism?

1. Recognize your patterns

In order to manage your perfectionism, you must first recognize why you're striving to be perfect. Does it come from a fear of not being good enough? Does it come from fear towards the road to success? Does it come from a need to control every aspect of your life? Whatever reason it may be, recognizing the reason behind your need for perfection is the first step in managing it. Realize that perfectionism is a mindset and when you let go of that fear and insecurity, you're a step closer to being better. 


2. See the bigger picture

Perfectionism has everything to do with your mindset and by shifting your thought pattern, you will manage your perfectionism better. Striving for perfection isn't easy. Not only does perfectionism become time-consuming, but it becomes a roadblock in your life. No matter how much you try, you can never avoid failure and mistakes in your life. If the reason behind your perfectionism is a failure, don't you realize that failure is the opportunity for growth? While it may seem like a setback at first, it's how you become better. If you constantly have this need to control every outcome in your life, realize that the more you end up controlling things, the more frustrated and anxious you're going to be. Perfection is an impossible standard to maintain and the more you strive towards it, the more you exhaust yourself from trying. There's nothing wrong with achieving a certain goal, but there's a certain flaw in the need to be perfect all the time. 



3. Adjust your standards

Instead of striving for perfection, you might want to adjust your standards into something more realistic. By pushing yourself towards a lesser standard, you let go of the burden you've been holding on to. Managing your perfection requires calibration of your standards. If you know that you did the best you could on a certain project, then there's no use in obsessing over every single detail. By doing this, you complete your task much faster than by integrating perfectionism in the picture. By adjusting your standards, this means that shifting your unrealistic standards into more realistic ones. For instance, let's say that one of your standards is to be promoted next month. While this can be a realistic standard, this can damage your health terribly in trying to achieve this singular goal. Rather than having this standard, you can shift to a healthier expectation such as submitting your deliverables earlier than the deadline or going to work early. The thing about perfectionism is that if you allow it to control you, you'll lose sight of what really matters.  


4. Break the cycle of rumination

If you are a perfectionist, you probably have a tendency to ruminate and spend a lot of your time thinking about your every mistakes. When you realize you're starting to ruminate, finding a distraction such as a pleasant activity can break the cycle. Experts say that people who ruminate tend to be less forgiving of themselves. If you recognize yourself in this description, self-compassion is the way to go. You can meditate and repeat the ho’oponopono mantra, a profound and healing forgiveness practice.


5. Go easy on yourself

By managing your perfection, it's also necessary to go easy on yourself. For instance, there's a deadline that's due in a moment and yet, you stress yourself out by doing it immediately. In order to manage your perfection, it's necessary to go easy on yourself and to realize that pushing yourself beyond your limit isn't going to do any good. Going for a break isn't the same as laziness. In fact, rest is essential to perform at your best. A lot of perfectionists are guilty of doing continuous work since they think that being productive is tied to their worth or their success. However, this is a false and toxic notion tied to perfectionism. You aren't going to be less successful by taking a break. By constantly abusing your mental health, you reduce your chances of ever attaining success. 


6. Embrace failure

The thing about trying to obtain a certain level of perfection is you're doing everything just to avoid failure. However, you should recognize that failure is a part of life, and the same goes for mistakes. Managing your perfectionism involves accepting that you will fail, one way or another. It's through failure that you grow and become better as a person, whether it's regarding the success or your personal growth. Perfection is an impossible standard, as we've mentioned earlier in this article, and it's through embracing failure that you completely live your life. 


While it's easy to become obsessed with achieving perfection, realize that it's both unrealistic and unhealthy. At the end of the day, your mental health is more important than achieving perfection.


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