As students, high achievers and generally those aspiring to do great things within their fields and beyond, we often battle perfectionism. When journeying the process of life it is important to not only work towards great results but enjoy the process of getting there. Perfectionism doesn't allow for this. By setting these unrealistic expectations of ourselves we are harming our self-esteem, increasing stress levels and overall diminishing our enjoyment of life. Whilst our goals and aspirations are very dear to us, we must not forget that the process is equally as important. Letting go of perfectionism, allowing yourself to make mistakes and ignoring what others may think, are the first steps to living a more fulfilling life.
Here are 3 ways you can overcome perfectionism:
Stop seeking the approval of others - Not everyone has to like you. Not everyone has to agree with what you choose to do. When we look for approval from others we often base our decisions on what they will think and how they will react. So when you are able to let go of this, you can finally make decisions that serve you and only you. No one should have control over how you live your life. Set healthy boundaries. You do not need to share every detail of your life with others. When people begin to ask questions, politely change the subject. Taking this step will help you avoid feeling judged.
Make room for mistakes - It is from failures that we learn, not from successes. It is important to make mistakes in order to learn. Scientific evidence shows that when we make a mistake our brain adjusts and gives itself more time the next time to ensure that we do not make the same mistake again. Perfectionism cuts out the important reflections that come with making mistakes. Sometimes it is important to step back and see what could be done better. Mistakes allow us to experience the ups and downs of life which creates a much better result.
Be realistic with yourselves - This doesn’t mean don’t aim high, instead set practical time frames, determine what you need to get there and how you can make that into small bitesize chunks. This makes your goals more realistic and attainable.
Lastly, don't be too harsh on yourself. Life is already challenging as it is. Give yourself the same mercy you would give others. At the end of the day, we are all humans, with many talents and imperfections unique to each of us and that is our superpower.