Perfection based thinking is rooted in mistake avoidance and impossible standards.
Where does it show up?
This way of thinking can show up in a variety of ways in our life: diet, productivity, exercise, parenting, relationships, self-love, etc. Regardless of the category, this way of thinking can become a source of stress and suffering. It makes us very sensitive to setbacks or any signs of failures or mistakes that might arise.
Perfection based thinking sounds or looks like this:
“I was so busy today, and yet I accomplished nothing.”
“I need to get it all done today: my morning routine, work, eat healthy, exercise, spend quality time with my partner, volunteer, do the kids homework, organize my closet, get enough sleep.”
“Reading and re-reading your emails/text before and after you send it and beating yourself up if you have a typo.”
Perfection: You have to do it all perfectly
Have you ever thought you had to do it ALL and if it didn’t ALL get done (to your satisfaction) then it wasn’t good enough, which means you are a failure and so you beat yourself up and tell yourself to try harder tomorrow?Perfection-based thinking becomes about doing “it” perfectly, without ever making a mistake. Which, while impossible, does not seem to stop one from trying. It leads to guilt, good is never good enough, procrastination at work and in life, and second-guessing and analysis paralysis.
What’s the antidote to perfection?
The ANTIDOTE to perfection-based thinking is SELF-COMPASSION. Learning to be self-compassionate will allow you to release unrealistic standards, meet yourself with kindness, and remind yourself that making mistakes is part of being a human.
Self-compassion is linked to optimism, self-efficacy, and personal initiative. This way of thinking helps you reframe how you view your life and how you respond to difficult situations.
Three ways to practice self-compassion:
1. Schedule a time in your day to practice. A tiny act of self-kindness, breathing, positive self-talk on your walk, a long bath or 5 mindful breaths at your office.2. Journaling in the morning for mindset or soul work. Use this time to remind yourself that you are worthy of compassion and kindness. “Brag on yourself” 3. Reframe your thoughts. Think about a time that you made a mistake or were hard on yourself. How would you talk to your friend, partner, a child when they make a mistake? Now repeat those words to yourself as often as needed. Remember that self-compassion is not lazy, weak, selfish, or self-indulgent. It’s the opposite. Research shows practicing self-compassion makes us better caregivers, friends, parents, and partners. Be kind to yourself, Caroline 💜