How To Overcome Destructive Perfectionism

So many of us are conditioned to be perfect.  We want perfect marks.  We want a perfect record. We want the perfect grade, assessment and appraisal. We believe that being perfect and doing things perfectly is both desirable and possible.

Here’s the problem though…. perfection isn’t possible for humans.  While we might get full marks in a test, we can’t do every task and every project perfectly or have perfect interaction with our family, friends and colleagues. 

Quite simply we are DOOMED TO FAILURE, every single day.

I know this sounds extreme, but that’s the problem. It is extreme.   When we have the perfectionist programmes deep in our minds, the subconscious literally thinks it is a matter of life and death.

If something doesn’t go so well for you, consciously you think “it’s a bit disappointing not to have done better.”  However, the subconscious is saying something very different.  It is saying if I’m not perfect I’ll be rejected, I’ll cease to exist, I’ll die!!

Unfortunately, the subconscious dominates how we think and feel.  It tells your body that you are in extreme danger, that you must attain that perfection at all costs.  The result: start on a self-destructive path of pushing yourself harder and harder.  Forever striving for that illusive perfection.

I know this path all too well, and it was responsible for the complete breakdown in my health.  Years ago, when I was in my first career of university lecturer and scientist, I was all set for a great academic career.  However, no matter what I achieved, I never felt good enough. I always felt as if I had in some way fallen short of what I should be.

The fact is that the mind and body simply cannot take this amount of pressure day after day and year after year and soon something will break.  It’s essential for your future wellbeing to change your outlook on life.  

These programmes are ingrained very deeply.  We can’t just stop.  The only way to really free yourself is to dig deep and reprogramme your mind with specialist techniques.

However, all is not lost because there are some really effective steps that will help you start breaking down that self-destructive cycle.

1) Recognise what you are doing!  Notice how much perfectionism is really controlling your life.  

So how do you know whether perfectionist poison is undermining you?  Ask yourself this……. Do you feel truly fulfilled in your achievements or are you always driven for the next step?  Are you much harsher with yourself than you are with others?  Do you feel deep-down not good enough?  If you answer yes, then it’s very likely that you desperately need to take these steps and free yourself.

2) Acknowledge once and for all that this is NEVER a good and healthy thing.

The drive to attain perfection is very deeply ingrained.  To free yourself from it, it’s important to remind yourself frequently that optimisation gives you better results in the long run.  Just once won’t do it!  So, be persistent to get results.

3)   Beat your subconscious mind at its own game.  Perfectionism means maximising everything all the time, which is unsustainable.  However, if you instead decide to OPTIMISE your efforts so you can produce sustainable excellence over all aspects of your life for many years, then you’ll actually achieve a lot more.  So, tell yourself frequently, 
‘when I release the need for unattainable perfection, and optimise my efforts, I achieve a lot more.’

Take these simple and easy steps, and your subconscious will begin to take on board the truth perfection is a false friend.  When you begin to understand deeply that the TRUE PATH TO ACHIEVEMENT is through OPTIMISATION.  Only then will perfectionism will begin to release its unhealthy grip on you.

I can’t emphasise enough just how essential it is to get this shift in mindset.  When your goal is perfection, this doesn’t include love, support or nurturing for yourself and so you suffer.  When optimisation is your goal, this includes your health, happiness and wellbeing. 

 When you are strong and happy things fall into place and excellence flows

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