7 Tips for Overcoming Perfectionism

We live in a culture that associates performance with worth, but therapist, Julie Hanks explains the two are unrelated. While our performance changes from day to day, our worth is constant.

Why are we obsessed with perfection?

We are obsessed with perfection because most of us, deep down, fear that we’re inadequate and unworthy of love — that is called “shame”. In order to deal with shame we tend to over-function or work really hard cover it up and to prove our worth through external means, by our appearance or performance. Somehow we believe if we look flawless, we will feel more adequate worthy of love. The opposite is actually true. The more we hide our true selves, the more we can discount the love that people try to offer because it’s based on half-truths.

As a society, we’re obsessed with the tangible things in life — things we can see — like our appearance, our family’s appearance, houses, cars, boats. Focusing on the external is reinforced everywhere.

As women how can we break the cycle of “perfection” that is perpetuated with one another?

According to researcher Brene Brown, willingness to share our vulnerability — our imperfections — is the key to breaking this cycle. Brown calls this “wholeheartedness” — living authentically, cultivate courage and compassion, and embrace the imperfections of who we really are. Vulnerability isn’t weakness — it’s strength. The key to stopping the cycle of perfectionism it to have the courage to be authentic and vulnerable and share our successes AND imperfections. Vulnerability is the bridge between us.

How do I overcome perfectionism?

1. Replace perfect with “good enough”.
2. Recognize that no one likes perfect people. We all know they’re faking it.
3. Choose people over things.
4. Remember that status and stuff will never be enough.
5. If I don’t know your struggles, we’re acquaintances, not friends.
6. Have the courage to be vulnerable. It is the bridge between us.
7. Recognize that busy isn’t a healthy badge of honor.

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