Perfectionism

One of the most common and destructive thought habits I have ever encountered
is perfectionism.

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It holds you back from actually getting all the way to done with a lot in life. It may
hold you back from even trying to do something because you feel you have to do it
perfectly.

And it tears your self-esteem apart.

So what can you do about it?

In today’s newsletter I would like to share 3 of the most effective things that have
helped me to replace this habit with something better.

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Go for good enough.

Aiming for perfection usually winds up in a project or something else never being
finished. So go for good enough instead. Don’t use it as an excuse to slack off. But
simply realize that there is something called good enough and when you are there
then you are finished with whatever you are doing.

Good enough in this case will most often mean that you have done a very good job
on an important task or project. But that you do not have to do it perfectly.

And good enough will in some cases just mean that you have done a good enough
job on some small task for example. There are many things to do in life or in a
week so make choices so that you can use your limited energy and time in a smart
way.

Reminder: buying into myths of perfection will hurt you and your life.

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By watching too many movies, listening to too many songs and just taking in what
the world is telling you it is very easy to be lulled into dreams of perfection. It
sounds so good and wonderful and you want it.

But in real life it clashes with reality and tends to cause much suffering and stress
within you and in the people around you. It can harm or possibly lead you to end
relationships, jobs, projects etc. just because your expectations are out of this
world.

I find it very helpful to remind myself of this simple fact.

Whenever I get lost in a perfectionist headspace I remind myself that it will cause
me and my world harm. And so it become easier to switch my focus and thought
patterns because I want to avoid making unhelpful choices and avoid causing
myself and other people unnecessary pain.

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Set your own bar and surround yourself with human standards.

Instead of setting the bar for yourself – or letting other people set that bar – at an
inhuman standard set it at a human level.

We all fail. We all have trouble reaching our goals sometimes. That is OK and very
human.

Don’t obey the bar that someone else have set for you. They may have set it out of
the goodness of their hearts – or not, to for example maximize profits – but if the
old standards do not work for you then it is time to find a better standard for
yourself.

So set the bar at a level where you feel motivated but where you do not have to
achieve inhuman results to like yourself and to be satisfied.

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Then choose to take small steps and day by day and week by week rearrange
your world so that it becomes more and more supportive of you and of human
standards.

Reduce or cut out media sources that make you feel worse or like you have to live
up to perfect standards. Replace them with magazines, blogs, books etc. filled with
optimism and motivation but also kinder and more realistic expectations and
standards.

Do the same thing with the people in your life. Spend more time with people who
are kind, who like to grow and like living a good life in a balanced, positive and
mentally healthy way.

This is your life. You decide. So set and surround yourself with the standards that
help you to both do good and to feel good.

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Have a self-kind weekend!

Henrik

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3 thoughts on “Perfectionism

  1. Be kind to yourself. 🙂

  2. i try my best – i learned many years ago that perfectionism does not exist. i grew up in the dance world where perfection rules with an iron fist. it was hard not to strive for anything less than perfect because only near perfect – or as close to as perfect a person could achieve would be accepted. I wrote a blog about this a few weeks ago – in reference to the great pianist Van Cliburn.

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