Overcoming Perfectionism…

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Hoi An lantern makerOk, who’s a perfectionist? I know I am for a lot of things. I think perfectionism can be a good thing (in moderation), because we then do a quality job (or is that the perfectionist coming out in me?) But it can also bring so much pressure to ourselves when things aren’t seen as perfect enough – then we beat ourselves up that we’re not good enough, or we put things on hold because they’re ‘not ready’.

By Nivedita Mehta

I didn’t know this but I was so relieved when I discovered that when perfectionism is deconstructed to its smallest indivisible part, it is not really an irreversible behaviour or condition (whilst it may appear as such) but only just a belief. A belief being nothing more than a bunch of thoughts repeated again and again.

After this unexpected relief I was elated to further realise that if I thought the same thought repeatedly that did not automatically and unequivocally make it true at all. I mean, no matter how many times I may think I am not good enough, that thought does not necessarily mean it is in fact the truth. That is, until I agree with this thought floating in my head.

Yippee! What a big load off my mind – literally!

And so to all the perfectionists out there, lets all take a collective sigh of relief at this revolutionary perspective.

Perfectionism, from a psychological and emotional viewpoint, is cleverly designed by the subconscious mind to sabotage all your best-laid plans.

Tangled mindPerfectionism will engineer the very details of staying small and always striving never arriving, because when everything has to be perfect nothing is ever ready to be seen/heard/written/performed/said etc.

It is clever, because it deludes us into thinking we are healthily striving for the best we can do, but the results speak for themselves. In other words, it’s a good thing to ask, (with an optional American accent) “How is perfectionism working out for ya?”

So you know the answer to that one, and therefore the logical next step is to challenge this need to be perfect. You certainly were not born thinking about being perfect; if you did you would have never bothered getting up again after you fell the first time trying to learn how to walk!

Think of a project that is just not taking off the ground because you are aware you are in the throes of perfectionism again.

Then ask yourself specifically the following three questions:

1. Why is something /or you not ready yet?
2. Can I be absolutely certain of that belief?
3. Why am I afraid to show myself/this to the world?

And then substitute that last negative thought of not being good enough (in some form or another) and change it to a more empowering one.

For example:

  • Everything is a work in progress
  • The most successful people in the world are constantly updating/modernising/enhancing their work
  • I am giving it my best and leaving all the other revisions/improvements/changes to the next version, etc.

The goal is to find relief in your thoughts that actually allow you to do/say/be all that you really want instead of using perfectionism as a delaying tactic.

Because you are today, a happy beneficiary of all that the world has chosen to offer you, not as the most impeccably perfect offering, but an offering that was an extension of their gifts and best intentions. So think of all those people you may be robbing due to your perfectionism.

Do it as a grand gesture to the world – Progress instead of Perfect.

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Nivedita MehtaNivedita Mehta is an author of forthcoming Hay House release CalmerSutra. She works out of her practice Blissful Mantra and helps women live with more confidence and clarity. She is currently based in Melbourne.

Email: nivedita.mehta@gmail.com

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  1. Overcoming Perfectionism says:

    […] Overcoming Perfectionism… — soulcuisine.co.nz Paula Johnson May 9, 2014 I think perfectionism can be a good thing (in moderation), because we then do a quality job (or is that the ‘perfectionist’ coming out in me?) But it can also bring so much pressure to ourselves when things aren’t seen as perfect enough – then … […]

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