How to stop being a perfectionist and improve self-kindness

This post is dedicated to all the women who work hard, give a lot and never spare a kind work. With this post I hope to make a little miracle happen, to help you seeing how amazing and beautiful you are. To finally ask something for yourself.

Perfectionism is the (unrealistic) expectation that generates the feeling of being never good enough.

It’s the reason why you don’t manage to stand up for yourself, be who you are and go after your goals. It’s the reason that keeps you struggling and running in high heels, trying to make it all. So you end up struggling to meet expectations, hustling and even blaming yourself for all the things you didn’t manage to do. And you wonder if you are good enough. I hear you.

I know how it feels. I know that if you aren’t clear about your goals and what is realistically achievable, there’s alway a more and a never enough. Because enough isn’t a precise unit of measure. And if you aren’t sure about your worth as a person, chances are that you use your achievements (your performances) to be worth at all. And this is very dangerous mechanism because your value as a person shouldn’t be questioned several times per day and it shouldn’t depend on your performances. What happens if you make it depend by your achievements?

That you can decide about some unrealistic standard to achieve in order to be worthy and set the bar very high. This is what happens when you are a perfectionist: it’s like if you aim for the 15 on a scale from 1 to 10, and you call the 15, the 10. So you tell yourself that your goal is actually achievable. Then you start working hard, only to end up frustrated and tell yourself that the reason why you make all this effort – or because you didn’t achieve your goal is that you aren’t good enough.

STOP BEHAVING AS IF YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH

I invite you to stop for a minute and acknowledge that you are making all those efforts to achieve expectations that are actually very high. Maybe you tell yourself that this is what’s expected from you and that there’s no other choice.

But there actually is another choice. Think about it:

  • Who is currently setting these high expectations for you?
  • Is anyone in your surroundings asking you to work until you drop?
  • If they are, what’s preventing you from saying no and affirming what you want instead?
  • If they aren’t, who is forcing you to achieve these very high standards?

If you buy into this system of never enough, you agree on the idea that performing (up to a certain or less certain standard) is a requirement for being accepted, appreciated and loved as a human being.

So, ultimately, how much is enough for you in order to accept and love yourself? 

This decision is up to. What I can tell you is that if you want to live a healthy and satisfying life you need to drop perfectionism and rewrite your expectations, to make them realistic.

And here’s an exercise to help you:

  • Write down the activities you do in your daily life.
  • Add two columns: “Divine” and “Human”.
  • Go through the list of your activities and fill the first column with your current expectations.
  • In the second column, “Human”, reframe the expectations to a realistic standard. If you are struggling with that, set the standard as if the tasks should be done by someone you love. Yes, you are going to have realistic competences rules and make your task human.
  • Make a decision about adopting the second column as your new expectations list.
  • Enjoy a life where being perfect is just being yourself, because nothing is easier than that.

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