I won’t bore you with the reasons why I grew up thinking perfectionism was a goal worth pursuing, but I will tell you it’s a heavy burden. I know, logically, that perfect is boring and usually annoying. I don’t seek out that type of person as a friend or someone I want to work with as I grow my business. Yet, when it’s so intertwined in your being, it’s a challenge to let go of those self-imposed “rules.” Awareness is the first step. While I embrace the components of perfectionism that help me to succeed, for the less healthy and productive elements, I’ve developed some coping skills over the years:
· If you fuss over your hair, trying to get every strand to fall perfectly (guilty!) try a hairstyle that is MESSY! It’s been the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. In fact, when it starts looking a little too styled, I purposely mess it up and I’m grinning the entire time. I went short and spikey, but the choices are endless.
· If you fret over entertaining (guilty!) try choosing a time/season that is the least stressful for you in case the worst happens—that no one shows up. Of course, this rarely happens, but the fear can mess with your mind. For my first big party I chose Christmas, my favorite holiday; I made myself crazy at first trying to find the “perfect” date for everyone, then had the genius idea to do what was less stressful for me and decided on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Christmas shopping, baking, and office parties are over and the decorations are still up. A fun time was had by all!
· If you can’t cut a straight line, hate your handwriting, and aren’t very creative, yet you want to scrapbook—STRESSFUL! Patterned scissors are your friend, but there's not much I can do about the other shortcomings, except to tell myself that I’m preserving precious memories and it will be comic relief for my kids when they’re older and they’ll know I at least tried.
I also agree with Sarah Marinos in her article “The Disadvantages of Being a Perfectionist” that self-compassion and kindness are important. I encourage you to read her article for more suggestions on how to be “less perfect.”
What resonated with you the most? Please share your tips for coping with perfectionism!