HEALTH,  Journaling,  LIFESTYLE,  Personal Development

Are You Trying to be Perfect?

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Welcome to the new week! I hope you are having a productive one!

While we are working to achieve our goals, sometimes we find ourselves pulling into a cycle of trying to get everything perfect. It sounds great but in some cases, the perfect can be the enemy of the good.

When we think about perfectionism, many people might be inclined to think that this means everything is always done properly and correctly. They believe that a perfectionist is somebody who never makes any mistakes. However, this is very rarely, if ever, the case.

Let’s take a look at what could really be behind your perfectionism.

Concern about Other People’s Opinions

The thought that other people might criticize you and your work or say anything negative towards it is one of the main issues behind perfectionism. Rather than being confident and able to deal with criticism or complaints, those who are perfectionists let this concern get out of control until it stops them from completing tasks altogether. This leads to procrastination.

Fear of Failure

Being afraid of failure can come with a lot of problems, not just those linked to procrastination and perfectionism. It can hugely damage your self-esteem and confidence, which has the opposite effect on empowerment, and isn’t conducive to building strong leaders and team members.

Memories from Your Past

The way we are brought up can have a massive effect on the people we become and the way that we live our lives. This doesn’t mean that we can’t change anything about it, but it can contribute to the development of our personalities and therefore could also be a factor behind your perfectionism. If you were raised by people who were perfectionists themselves, or if you were often told that you weren’t achieving high enough or weren’t doing well enough, this can lead to procrastination and constant worry that nothing will ever be perfect.

You’re Always Striving for Improvement

If you always try to do better than last time, this can also create fear of getting it wrong or not doing as well as before. This can make people procrastinate or wait until somebody else picks the task up.

Lack of Confidence

Some people are perfectionists and always seem to get everything right. The people around them are constantly in awe of how well they are able to do things and how perfect everything seems to be. However, the real reason they are like this is that they are so worried about underachieving and they lack confidence in their own abilities. Be observant and pay attention to detail, but work on building your own confidence levels.

It may not be possible to totally let go of your perfectionist tendencies. However, you can work to take the edge off — as it were — by working on your self-confidence and learning to accept that everything doesn’t have to be perfect all of the time. It’s OK!

Self-Care for the Perfectionist

The previous section looks at signs that tell if you are a perfectionist. On the surface, being a perfectionist doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Having high expectations for yourself can be beneficial — but if you take it to extremes, it can get in the way of your happiness, well-being, and ability to care for yourself.

Here are some self-care tips for the perfectionist that will help you learn to treat yourself more gently and accept yourself just as you are.

Change the Way You Talk to Yourself

Think about how you’d talk to a good friend if they made a mistake at something. You wouldn’t call them names or say mean things to them. So why would you do that to yourself?

Unfortunately, most perfectionists are in the habit of talking to themselves in a less-than-kind way. Tearing yourself down isn’t constructive, though, so make an effort to notice when you’re doing it and stop. If you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk, change your thoughts to something more positive instead.

Forgive Yourself for Mistakes

Mistakes — big ones and small ones alike — can haunt a perfectionist for days. But if you can’t let go of something you did wrong last week, you’re wasting valuable mental bandwidth on something that most other people have probably forgotten by now. It’s important to consciously forgive yourself for making mistakes, even though it might be difficult at first. Say something like, “I forgive myself. That mistake is in the past, and I’m going to do my best from here on out.” Then move on with your life.

Each Day Focus on Something You Did Well

When you’re a perfectionist, it’s all too easy to focus on the things you did wrong. Get into the daily habit of thinking about things you did right instead. Keep in mind that you can do something well without doing it perfectly! If you learned something new in class, or if your boss complimented you on your latest project, give yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishment.


Humor is a wonderful way to relax and gain some perspective. Try to find something to laugh about every day, whether that means sharing a joke with a co-worker or watching comedy videos online. When you have a good sense of humor, you’ll be able to cope with mistakes and negative thoughts more easily.

Find a Judgment-Free Space for Self-Expression

A great remedy for perfectionism is allowing yourself to be imperfect — on purpose. Find a way to express yourself or try something new without any judgment or criticism, either from yourself or from anybody else.

This could mean writing in a journal, teaching yourself a new skill, or working on a creative project that you won’t show to anybody else. The only rule: your activity must be strictly for your own enjoyment. The outcome doesn’t matter, so there’s no reason for you to criticize yourself.

Being a perfectionist can take a toll on your mental health and happiness over time. In fact, holding yourself to a rigid, unrealistic standard is the opposite of caring for yourself. These self-care tips will help you adopt a healthier mindset and treat yourself with the patience and compassion you deserve.

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  • Ola @ WanderWithOla

    What an awesome reminder. I am a perfectionist, and I can totally relate to this. My husband always says that I tend to be so hard on myself, and I should forgive myself for mistakes. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Shubh

    I am glad that I don’t have these qualities. I like to be perfect but a balanced one. However, my friend has got most of those qualities so I need to always cheer her up.

  • Nichole | Wildly Alive

    Wow, thanks for sharing these ideas! Its really helpful. Its not easy living as a perfectionist. It will ruin everything in your life. Your confidence, your dreams, your life. But its never impossible to overcome such thing. We are all humans. We can make mistakes and we must forgive ourselves and others as well. And just keep moving forward.

  • Ane

    I’m a Virgo, so I know I am a perfectionist and I am aware and can be really tough on myself sometimes, but I’m definitely working on it and I think that these tips are so helpful. My husband calls me the “imperfect perfectionist” haha so I use that as a description of myself on all my social profiles.

  • David Elliott

    Forgiving yourself for the mistakes that you need is so important. Perfection is often the enemy of the good. You have to be able to accept the good and forgive yourself for things that go wrong because things always do at times.

  • Ladonna Batiste

    I think that there is a difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection. I am not a perfectionist. I don’t care what others think about me. I delegate and I do not micro manage.

  • Sigrid Says

    Being an editor, yeah, I have that notion of perfectionism, at least in some areas of life. But now, I have learned to let loose. It’s not worth it. The stress is too much. 😀

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