How to Cure Perfectionism

True story?  

Originally this was going to be a 3 part blog post all about what perfectionism is, where it can stem from, and steps to “cure” it.  But as I began to flesh out my notes, I decided to scratch all of that.  

I realized that while it’s fine and dandy to talk about those things (and maybe I’ll do a series like that at a later date) my goal is to keep it as real as possible with you guys in these posts, and the truth about perfectionism is it’s a front.

It’s a front for not thinking you’re worthy.  

For feeling like you’re less than because you’re not perfect (even though you know perfect doesn’t really exist).  

For wishing that you could be and do everything for everyone without breaking a bead of sweat and with an apple pie in the oven.    

I can tell you what it’s like to not feel worthy because I was there.  I was caught in the throws of double (ok let’s be honest triple and quadruple) checking my work.  Of not putting myself out there because the thought of someone else thinking badly about me (or my work) made my stomach churn to the point of being physically ill.  And of feeling like I couldn’t do anything unless it was 110% perfect (like what does that even mean?!).  

So while we could sit here and talk about ways to stop double and triple checking or think of things to tell yourself before a big deadline at work or a new job interview, there’s more going on than just wanting to make sure all your Is are dotted and your Ts are crossed.

Because the truth of the matter is, there’s nothing inherently wrong with dotting Is or crossing Ts.  It’s just when you feel like less of a person because you haven’t done that, that it becomes a problem.  

See the thing is, “confidence is quiet [and] insecurities are loud.” 

If you sit back and close your eyes for a moment and imagine the best, most confident, complete version of yourself do you see her anxiously triple checking her work or fretting over her next big project because she fears in the depths of her soul that people will judge her for it no matter how many times she edits “just one more time”?  Does she sit and fret about how her next launch will go or does she take the action necessary to complete the tasks at hand because she knows everything will go just as it needs to. 

See, there’s a quiet confidence that bubbles up when the fear is gone.  And the fear leaves when the love comes in.  In fact, I’d like to think that the love pushes the fear out.  

And so it becomes a journey of building the love instead of “curing” the perfectionism because when the love comes in and overrides everything else then it doesn’t leave room for the anxious thoughts that often accompany the incessant double checking or fear based fretting. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that love conquers all and as long as you have it in your heart nothing bad will ever happen, but I am saying that if you can learn to appreciate yourself with a love similar to the kind that keeps high-school sweethearts holding each other's hands 70 years down the road, well then the anxious naysaying thoughts seem to go away on their own.

I’d love for you to join me on the journey of building that kind of love with yourself in the next post.     

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