With the continued intention of sharing ideas to help illuminate, alleviate, and elevate you, I offer ‘Easing Perfectionism.’
Has Perfectionism aided your overachieving or success when you ran a school event, launched your company, organized your nonprofit’s books, helped an ill parent, or finished marathons?
Because it pushed and pressed way-high standards.
Which got the job done.
However, you’re experiencing elevated stress, anxiety, and/or health issue(s).
Or, maybe you’ve felt hamstrung with ‘imperfect’ situations, intolerant of messy situations (or, uh, people), or uneasy when unable to be everything to everyone.
It’s possible Perfectionism aided your success yet the coin’s other side has costs.
And, a toll – like limited vulnerability, reduced authenticity, or more distant connection with close others – such that you aren’t quite feeling truly heard.
You aren’t alone, friend.
Perfectionism is well studied and explained by Brene Brown. It’s a “belief that if we do things perfectly and look perfect we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgment, and shame.”
Unfortunately, the forcefield of protection prevents your being truly seen in a hustle to “please, perform, perfect.”
Perfectionism’s ability to offset balance or flexibility may unintentionally short your sleep, self-care, or open calendar space.
Opening door to body and mind issues.
What if you had a 3 step process for Easing Perfectionism?
Here’s a simple – alas maybe not easy-peasy – one for you.
Which, with time, imperfection, and practice, can honestly help.
You can maintain a healthy strive for excellence and even get more done in a balanced way without Perfectionism’s performance drag. While diminishing unhealthy people-pleasing, overdoing, and failure fear.
To net out more calm, realness, and equilibrium while reducing overcommitting &/or being less productive.
N. R. S.
Notice, Rate, and Strategy.
Step 1 – Notice:
“The Process of behavior change always starts with awareness. You need to be aware of your habits before you can change them” per James Clear in Atomic Habits. Changing what’s hidden or unnoticed isn’t doable. Bummer.
If you “put a small moment of space [a Pause] between the immediate feeling and your instinctive reaction, you are allowing yourself to stay present and ultimately regain control,” per Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Bruce Perry’s What Happened to You?
This allows Noticing ‘signs’ – feelings, thoughts, or behaviors – that might indicate Perfectionism in driver’s seat.
Here are my perfectionizing signs to help you mull what yours may be:
• a clenched stomach, core, or chest. Shoulders tense and move towards ears upon working overly meticulously – on unimportant details such as ‘Do I italicize or quote a title!?’ – making dinner way late. Or,
• a dust stormy mind while self-critiquing is a record on repeat. Or,
• finishing dishes for a ‘neat’ kitchen in lieu of getting an extra 15 minutes of needed sleep.
Calling out – verbally or within – can aid your Noticing so shifting’s more possible. Thanks again, James Clear.
Unsure how/what to Notice? Maybe ask for Celestial help or query a trusted therapist for honesty on Perfectionistic areas. Or, consider asking yourself questions around this topic. Writing down what floats may help with Noticing.
For later awareness to take…
Step 2 – Rate it:
After Noticing Perfectionism’s afoot, rate intensity and ability to clearly think or act either with ‘easy enough’ or ‘too hard’.
‘Too hard’ might be a knot in chest sensation, can’t even deal/grrrrrr feeling, bite a head off desire, or sense that a choice’ll worsen instead of improving a situation.
‘Easy enough’ may feel like I’m not too stressed and desirable action, with a mostly clear head, feels achievable.
Then it’s on to deploying…
Step 3 – Strategy:
For ‘too hard’ situations, try taking several deep breaths wherever you are. Or, PPWSD. Pause, Pray/meditate, Wait for emotion to die down, go Silent, take some Distance from the situation. Applying PPWSD can actually diminish ‘too hard’ with time.
For ‘easy enough’ scenarios, here are 2 ideas to consider applying for Easing Perfectionism:
• Experimenting – try something you long to do where you feel there’s a decent likelihood of success. Start small – on something you’re more ok with being wrong or making a mistake. If that feels icky, I hear you. Try being gentle with your dear self. If in attempting this, an oopsie happens, oh well. Maybe say “Hey, I discovered something” per Jean Pierre Beugoms in Adam Grant’s Think Again.
• Small step it – with what you’d like to do but aren’t because it feels too much. Break it down further. Nanometer-ify it. Chunk it down to an ok feeling size. Such that you inch forward. When you do this, little by little a little really does become a lot.
If or when you notice Perfectionism/stress/angst kicks up to ‘too hard’, yay you. You Noticed and Rated. Now, take breaths or PPWSD to calm and care for yourself before taking action.
Notice, Rate, Strategy can be a real-you-liberator.
Creating a sense, incrementally, that it’s more and more ok that your to-do list isn’t complete nor is everything picture perfect.
Because there is a more well-rested, calm, balanced wife, mother, business partner, neighbor, or friend.
More real, less pretending, more freedom, less rigidness, more whole & aware, less fragmented & inattentive – with more accomplished in long run.
This process to Ease Perfectionism – imperfectly – is one you may grow to adore. As I have. Well, more of the time.
Because continuing to try, try, try is deeply worth it.
For more peace within. Healthier interactions personally and professionally. And, improved ability to self-care.
Yessssss, you really can do this.
And have this.
With mega love beams and heartfelt belief in your ability to N. R. S. for blossoming even more of precious you,