You’ll never be perfect…so ditch those fears and live your best life
If you’re a perfectionist; someone who strives for that elusive A+ in every area of your life, then it’s hardly surprising.
In today’s world, we are subjected to a perceived level of perfection on social media platforms, every hour of every day. The smoothly-edited lives of others, not to mention re-touched photos of celebrities and the ready availability of cosmetic surgery, make everybody appear perfect.
We may understand how fake all this is, but it’s far too easy to get suckered in anyway!
Wouldn’t life be wonderful, if only we could ease up on ourselves a little? If we could permanently shake the feeling that perfection equals happiness?
Let’s begin by considering one very true and simple fact: perfect people don’t exist. I’ve never met one, and I’m willing to bet that you haven’t either. Perhaps it’s a good thing that perfect people don’t exist. A complete absence of any flaws would render a person uninteresting, don’t you think?
Our flaws make us human, unique and sometimes even endearing.
While there is nothing wrong with setting high performance standards, or wanting to look your best, striving for absolute flawlessness will result in a self-critical, burdened life. Most likely punctuated by unhappiness, low self-worth, depression, anxiety and even addiction.
Why do we fear imperfection?
If this question resonates with you, then you may believe that not looking flawless is unacceptable, or that not doing things perfectly will lead to negative outcomes. Making a mistake becomes something that must be avoided at all costs, because failure is not an option.
There are many reasons why we fear not being perfect. We may have experienced rejection at an early age, or praise could instead have been liberally heaped upon us as children, leaving us with an all-consuming craving for ever more adulation as we grow older.
As a therapist, I meet many people who don’t have the partner they want, the job they want, or the body they want. Often, they are trapped in a continual cycle of self-doubt and criticism, believing that they are not smart, talented slim, rich, or just plain good enough to have what they want.
Sometimes, perfectionists who are already in good jobs or good relationships worry constantly about losing them. In response to the anxiety this causes, the mind will often go into ‘protective mode’, stopping you from taking any positive action (“what if, it all goes wrong and my flaws are finally revealed?”)
How to feel ‘good enough’
As a recovering perfectionist myself – the very thought of public speaking once terrified me! – I have long since accepted that my imperfections can in fact work with me when it comes to presenting in front of an audience. I now believe that its my flaws that make me real and relatable, and they help others to connect with me.
The solution lay in simply accepting that, I am ‘good enough’ – a sentiment I feel should be taught to children from as early an age as possible. All we can do every day is our best, and if we make mistakes…well, that just means we’re human. Certainly not stupid, or a failure.
Nobody wants us to be perfect
Would it surprise you to know that examiners, job interviewers and driving test instructors aren’t looking for you to be perfect?
They understand that perfection isn’t realistic or even achievable; they are simply looking for you to be ‘good enough’ to meet their standards. If you can meet them whilst also appearing comfortable, confident and relaxed about the person you are, so much the better!
Hard work still matters
Top athletes and esteemed academics work long and hard to achieve excellence in their field, which is something to be admired and respected. After all, hard work and a determination to succeed are characteristics we should all celebrate.
However, the important point to note is that there is a clear distinction between striving to achieve your best, and shouldering the burden of perfection. Successful, hard-working people know that mistakes are tools that allow us to learn and grow, finally setting us on the road to achieving our best work.
Make a positive change
If you are exhausted by always having to appear perfect and have finally had enough, then the solution could lie in hypnotherapy, and specifically RTT.
Real, permanent change begins at a subconscious level, so why not download a recording today to help you navigate an exam, a driving test, a job interview or a public speaking engagement? Alternatively, simply send me a message and set up a friendly chat.