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How Perfectionism Ruins Your Life

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In a recent blog I talked about how perfectionism can get in the way of your success, but today I thought I would talk about an even more pernicious problem of perfectionism that can actually ruin your life, and this one can happen even after you reach success. Make sure you read to the end where I teach you how to overcome these feelings.

Read More: The No. 1 Way Perfectionism Gets In Your Way

So let’s say you managed to overcome all the hurdles perfectionism presented to still achieve what the rest of the worlds sees as success. The problem is that life still won’t be perfect; there will always be some flaws. Your perfectionism can then mean that instead of enjoying all the good things you have accomplished you focus in on just what is wrong. Some dissatisfaction can be a great motivator to drive you to further success, but when it goes too far it can get pretty dark.

Let’s say you set a goal to lose 20lbs and achieve it, but for some reason you still aren’t satisfied with your body as it’s not quite perfect. A few different problems can arise out of this need for perfection. Maybe you feel like all the hard work wasn’t really worth it so you just quit, and maybe even do the complete opposite and go on a binge. Another option is doubling down and getting more and more extreme and obsessed, which can lead to a range of serious disorders.

The biggest problem though is that since perfection is impossible no amount of hard work can ever achieve it. This means that even after years of suffering, sacrifice, sweat and tears spent trying to perfect your life there will still be problems. This can lead to some pretty dark places, feelings of incompetence, depression or even worse actions, as seen in some pretty prominent celebrity cases. Despite what seemed like great success to the rest of the world, they were still failures in their own eyes because they had not achieved perfection. And social media has only exacerbated this since so many people present what seems like perfect bodies and lives for us to compare ours against. And despite the fact that the rest of their lives might be messed up, since we cannot see it this still magnifies the feelings of incompetence we have in regards to our own lives.

The key to overcoming these feelings is to switch your focus to what is good in your life, which is of course a lot easier said than done. It takes a conscious and consistent effort to adjust your focus onto the positive. Gratitude journaling is a great way to do this [1] as it forces you to refocus your mind onto the positive in your life. Each night before bed write down a few things that you feel grateful for, to specifically battle the feels on incompetence that perfectionism fosters I would suggest adding in something that you accomplished each day. And while consistency is key, a day missed here or there isn’t going to really make a difference, don’t let imperfect execution stop you from doing it.

If you liked this blog please share it with someone you know suffering from perfectionism. And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you get an email every time I publish a new blog.

  1. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/images/application_uploads/Emmons-CountingBlessings.pdf

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