5 Steps you can take TODAY to end your perfectionism (#4 is stupid easy)

5stepstoendperfectionism

1. Quit all or nothing thinking & add the word “yet” to the end of your black and white statements

This has probably been the biggest change that I have made in recent years.  All or nothing thinking (or black and white thinking) is the act of using exaggerative terms to describe occurrences, including negative self talk.  For example, “I am always awkward and shy,” or “I ate a piece of chocolate cake, so this means that I’ve completely ruined my diet and might as well have another…”

This type of thinking is inaccurate and and it’s actually dangerous–it can get in the way of feeling peace in your life and contribute to anxiety and depression.

Instead,

  • Pay attention to the words that you use to describe yourself and actions.  Commit to using words that are not extremes.  For example, if you notice yourself using the following words: always, impossible, ruined, never, awful, disastrous, etc….then stop.  Ask yourself, is this true?
  • Add the word “yet” to the end of your black and white statements.  For example, if you are learning to cook, you could say “I’m not very good at cooking yet, but I am trying and learning,” instead of saying, “I am a terrible cook.”  This reminds your brain that you are capable of learning.

2. Talk to yourself as you would a child or a best friend

No, I’m not talking about baby-talk.  I’m talking about using the same mentality of encouragement as you would with a child.  If a baby is learning to walk and falls down, how do we react?  We are so supportive and loving.  We pick them up, we tell them how well they’re doing. Can you imagine if every time a baby fell down, we yelled at them and said “You stupid baby, you can’t even walk!”  The entire idea is ridiculous.  So why do we ridicule ourselves when we fail at something that we have never done before?  If we were amazing at it on the first try, that would be an anomaly.  

Have you ever had a friend tell you that they feel ugly that day and thought, “what do they mean?? They look so pretty today!”  What if your friend told you this and you said to them, “Yeah, honestly you are the most hideous person I have ever seen.  You look so fat, your face is full of acne, and you should probably not leave your house today.”  So why do we talk to ourselves like this?

Instead,

  • Encourage yourself and remind yourself that you are learning.  When you have negative thoughts, catch these thoughts, acknowledge them and ask yourself, “What would my best friend say to me right now?

 

3.  Stop comparing yourself to others (or at least limit it as much as possible)

We all compare ourselves to others–it’s a natural part of being a human.  However, limiting this as much as possible  will decrease your need to seem perfect.  

Instead,

  • Reframe your view of the competition.  Rather than seeing it as an either-or-scenario, consider it a celebration of everyone’s unique gifts.  You’re probably thinking, “Ok, but like how do I do that?”
  •  Start by recognizing when you compare yourself to others. For example, Is it when you’re on social media?  If so, limit your social media time.  Maybe even set a timer that goes off to let you know that it’s time to get off of Instagram or Facebook.

 

4.  Accept compliments

This is the easiest thing to implement TODAY.  When someone gives you a compliment, say “Thank you.”  It’s that simple.  

If someone tells you your hair looks nice today, don’t say “Omg no, I haven’t washed it in 3 days.”  

Instead,

  • Say “Thank you.” First of all, it’s self-deprecating and in my personal opinion, it can come off like you’re fishing for compliments.  When in reality, you’re not vain, you’re just self-conscious about your hair.
  • This certainly does not only apply to looks and can actually help you climb the corporate ladder.  If your boss gives you a compliment and says that you worked well with a client, say THANK YOU.  Do NOT say “Really? No, I thought I did so bad, I was all over the place”.  Because GUESS WHAT.  This makes your boss second guess how you did and you don’t need to project your own self-deprecation and insecurities onto your boss who clearly thought you did a stellar job.

5. Hope that you fail and actively try to

You better hope that you fail.  Because if you don’t, it means that you’re staying in your comfort zone and not accomplishing anything.  People can coast like this FOR YEARS.  And in my opinion, that’s sad.  When I got my first job after college, I remember my mom telling me that she hoped that it was full of failure.  And I thought, “WHAT?”  Then she explained this concept.

Instead,

  •  Change your mindset and expect to fail.  If you don’t fail, that means you are not learning new things.  
  • This not only takes perfectionism off the table, but it takes failure off the table too.  If you hope to fail, then are you really failing?

 

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