Reduce anxiety and depression by challenging common cognitive distortions
Have the COURAGE to be imperfect
We have a new sign in our office with this statement on it and I find myself reflecting on it often.
In theory, I am completely fine with the idea that I am far from perfect. It is an impossible expectation to have for myself and others.
And yet, in moments where I find myself making a mistake, or sometimes worse, worrying that I am going to make a mistake, striving for perfection can become a complete preoccupation.
Anything short of perfection can feel like the end of the world as I know it. Anyone with me in this?
The problem here isn’t the desire for excellence or the hope of not making a mistake.
The problem is when we base our self-worth and identity on the unrealistic standard of perfection.
All of a sudden, every mistake, every flaw, real or perceived, becomes equated with who we are as a person.
Anything short of perfection is failure.
This leads to frustration, anger, anxiety, depression and low-self-esteem.
The driving force of perfectionism is fear.
Fear of failing, fear of letting others down, fear of letting yourself down, fear of the future, fear of judgement, fear of not measuring up.
It takes courage to learn to be okay with imperfection and fight through the fear.
If any of this sounds like you, you are not alone. You also don’t have to remain stuck in the perfectionism trap.
- Recognize perfectionism, and the unrealistic expectations connected to it.
It may help to actually write out what your expectations are and then circle the ones that are realistic. If you are struggling to figure it out, ask a loved one to help.
- Practice failing.
To the perfectionist, this probably sounds terrifying…but practice makes perfect! Pick a new activity that sounds interesting that you can try to learn. Learning something new takes patience, self-compassion, and of course, mistakes.
- Remember that you are human.
With that, comes recognizing that you have strengths and limitations. Celebrate your strengths and accept your limitations as growth areas.
In Brené Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfections, she says ”I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
Accepting imperfection takes great courage. If you don’t feel up to tackling it on your own, we would love to support you. Reach out to us any time.