Perfectionism can be a double-edged sword. 

acceptance is a double edged sword julia schafer

While having high standards can be motivating, an obsession with perfection can lead to stress, anxiety, and a constant fear of failure. 

Let’s uncover the complexities of perfectionism, its impact on mental well-being, and most importantly, some strategies to overcome it.

The Pitfalls of Perfectionism:

Perfectionism isn’t just about having high standards; it’s an unrelenting quest for an ideal that is often unrealistic. 

While setting ambitious goals is commendable, a perfectionist tends to view anything less than perfection as a catastrophe, leading to stress, anxiety, and a distorted self-image.

goals for 2024 Julia Schafer counseling colorado state universityKey Questions for Recognizing Perfectionism:

–       Do you struggle to meet your own standards?

–       Do feelings of frustration and anxiety accompany your pursuit of perfection?

–       Have others pointed out that your standards are too high?

–       Do your standards get in the way of your productivity, relationships, or spontaneity?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, perfectionism might be affecting your life.

Strategies to Overcome Perfectionism:

1.     Realistic Thinking: Acknowledge that making a mistake does not define your competence or worth as a person. How many people do you know of who are successful, but not perfect at all that they do?

2.     Perspective Taking: If you believe that needing help makes you weak, consider a friend’s perspective. Most people view seeking help as a strength, recognizing that collaboration and support lead to better outcomes.

3.     Looking at the Big Picture: Instead of agonizing over the choice of font in an email, evaluate whether it truly matters in the grand scheme of things. Will the font choice significantly impact the message’s effectiveness or your overall performance?

4.     Practicing Compromise: Compromising involves gradually adjusting those standards. If you set extremely high standards for presentations at work, start by allowing yourself to make a mistake in one out of five presentations. Over time, further compromise by accepting imperfections in a greater proportion.

5.     Reframing Perfectionism: Rather than seeing perfectionism as a superpower propelling you toward success, recognize it as a barrier. Understand that setting realistic expectations allows for sustainable success without the constant pressure to be flawless.

6.     Redefining Failure: Instead of avoiding challenging tasks due to fear of failure, embrace them as opportunities for growth. Understand that failure is a universal experience and provides valuable lessons for improvement.

how to overcome perfectionism

Embracing change and working towards overcoming perfectionism is a journey that requires time, effort, and self-reflection. It’s important to acknowledge that progress may come gradually, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. 

Moreover, the journey toward a healthier mindset is also filled with moments of growth, self-discovery, and resilience. 

Remember that seeking support, whether from friends, family, or a therapist, is a sign of strength, not weakness. 

Each step taken towards realistic thinking, perspective taking, and reframing perfectionism brings you closer to a more fulfilling and balanced life.