Do you suffer with perfectionism?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Anna Honeysett BA.hons, Adv,Dip,Couns,MBACP
13th February, 20180 Comments
Yesterday I had one of those days where simple tasks turned into complicated ones. I found myself getting really frustrated and then felt really unmotivated to do any meaningful work afterwards.
I don't know about you but I am the sort of person who can deal brilliantly with a crisis or a 'big' issue but find myself being side swiped by the small petty things. When I started reflecting on this I realised that I had told myself 'I have to sort this out now' otherwise in my eyes I had failed in some way. If I had just been kinder to myself then I probably would have been much more productive for the rest of the day.
Doing things 'just right' has always been a struggle for me. As a child I took my violin grades and my mum (bless her) would accompany me on the piano when I practiced. If I made ONE mistake I would stop and demand that we went back to the beginning of the piece and start again (introduction and all!). I refused to just go back to where the mistake happened - it had to be the start. On reflection, not only was this very punishing to myself and my poor mum but I'm not sure that by starting again it really made any difference to my performance.
Now you might be thinking doing things well Anna and trying your best is a good thing and I would agree with you. However we are not talking about that, we are talking about you setting yourself high, unrealistic and punishing standards. This can seep into all areas of our lives such as our relationships, our work, hobbies etc. Perfectionism can very quickly suck all the fun and enjoyment out of life.
Counselling is a great way of understanding why you have a 'be perfect' driver and having more awareness in this area can really aid you in lessening this need. Often it is about proving to yourself and others that you are 'ok' or that you are worth something.
Here's the thing though - mistakes are how we learn and if you spent all your time avoiding them then you may be missing out on learning resilience and growing as a person. You ARE good enough and it is ok to lessen of some of your rigid goals. You will still be 'ok'.
I fully intend the next time I have one of those days where nothing goes smoothly to re-read this blog and hopefully be more understanding of myself - maybe you could to!
About the author
I am a MBACP counsellor working in private practice in Ashford Kent. I am experienced and work with a vast range of issues. I have recently run a emotional eating course and an anger management course which have both been successful. I am also starting to sell online therapeutic tools for therapists and parents.
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