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How I overcame perfectionism and found joy in being 'good enough'

Image Credits: UnsplashImage Credits: Unsplash
  • Recognize the costs of perfectionism and take an honest inventory of its impact on your life.
  • Set realistic, achievable goals using the SMART criteria to reduce pressure and frustration.
  • Develop self-compassion and treat yourself with the same kindness you extend to others.

Perfectionism can be a relentless taskmaster, driving us to achieve unattainable standards and leaving us feeling perpetually inadequate. As a recovering perfectionist, I have learned to embrace the joy of 'good enough,' and in doing so, I have found a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Perfectionism often masquerades as a pursuit of excellence, but it is, in reality, a mask for vulnerability and fear. As Shanna A. Hocking notes, "Perfectionism is a mask for vulnerability. It keeps us from showing others what we fear they will see about us". This relentless drive for flawlessness can lead to anxiety, burnout, and a constant sense of inadequacy.

Recognizing the Costs

One of the first steps in overcoming perfectionism is recognizing its costs. Perfectionism can rob us of joy, peace, and even our health. As highlighted in the article "Peaceful, Not Perfect," it is essential to take an honest inventory of what perfectionism has cost us in terms of missed opportunities and diminished well-being. By acknowledging these costs, we can begin to see the value in letting go of perfectionist tendencies.

Setting Realistic Goals

Perfectionists often set impossibly high standards for themselves, leading to frustration and disappointment. Linné Handy suggests setting realistic goals using the SMART criteria: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. This approach helps in creating manageable steps towards our objectives, reducing the pressure to be perfect.

Developing Self-Compassion

Treating ourselves with the same kindness we extend to others is crucial in the journey to overcome perfectionism. Handy advises asking ourselves, "Would you think that, or say that to your best friend?". This simple question can help us turn negative self-talk into positive reinforcement, fostering a healthier self-image.

Embracing Imperfection

Learning to embrace imperfection is a significant milestone in recovering from perfectionism. As noted in "Recovering From My Body Perfectionism," accepting our flaws and focusing on our strengths can lead to a more relaxed and authentic self. This acceptance allows us to derive joy from our achievements without the constant pressure to be perfect.

Celebrating Progress

Perfectionists often overlook their accomplishments, always focusing on what could be better. Celebrating progress, no matter how small, is essential. Hocking emphasizes the importance of acknowledging our achievements and recognizing our strengths. This practice helps in building a positive self-image and encourages continuous growth.

Finding Joy in 'Good Enough'

The ultimate goal in overcoming perfectionism is finding joy in being 'good enough.' This shift in mindset allows us to appreciate our efforts and achievements without the burden of perfection. Embracing 'good enough' can lead to greater happiness and balance in life.

Overcoming perfectionism is a journey that requires self-awareness, realistic goal-setting, self-compassion, and a willingness to embrace imperfection. By letting go of unattainable standards, we can find joy in our efforts and achievements, leading to a more balanced and fulfilling life. Remember, it's not about being perfect; it's about being 'good enough.'

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