Perfectionism. Who reading this post just went “yep, that’s me”. Well you are in good company. I am a perfectionist (insert cringe here). I like to refer to myself as a person in recovery from perfectionism. If you have read anything by Brene Brown, you know why I cringe when I identify as a perfectionist. If you haven’t I highly recommend her books or ted talks, which I have listed on my resource page.
Perfectionism for me, tends to come through as extreme drive for an unrealistic expectation. So basically, I am rarely happy with an outcome and I will work myself sick trying to reach that outcome, I probably still won’t be happy with.
I have had to work really hard over the years to adjust my expectations, increase my positive self-talk, have self-compassion, and use self-care to relax and reset myself. It has not always been an easy journey, but I do believe in practicing what I preach. Being able to take care of myself and check myself when I start to feel overwhelmed by my expectations are so very important.
When we strive for perfection we usually miss out on our present moment because we are in our head striving and achieving. In a previous blog post I discussed The Yin and The Yang of goals and intentions. Perfectionists tend to be out of balance with their intentions vs their goals. We get a little too caught up in the achieving goals and disconnect from our intentions (our hearts desires) that keep us grounded in the present moment.
Perfectionism is a topic that I’m sure I will be spending multiple hours writing and sharing on as it is a complex personality trait. I wanted to focus this post on self-compassion and how having a little self-compassion can go such a long way towards connecting with those intentions and your present moment again.
Dr. Kristen Neff has defined self-compassion as: “Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings.” She has also defined self-compassion as being composed of three main components – self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.
When we extend ourselves self-kindness we move away from self-judgement. When we connect with a knowing that we aren’t the only ones who have ever felt a certain way we feel less alone. Mindfulness allows us to bring our emotions into balance and be aware of uncomfortable emotions and how they might be affecting us in our present moment.
Self-Compassion allows us to extend ourselves some grace. It is so much easier to send compassion out to others then it is to bring it back in and show some to ourselves. Self-judgment gets in the way and send us hurtling towards everything we did wrong and how we are the only one’s failing or how life isn’t working out as we planned, all while completely by-passing mindfulness on the way.
When we allow ourselves self-kindness by acknowledging that we are doing our best, that we are having emotions that might feel uncomfortable or even painful, but it’s all gonna be ok. We are able to come back to our present moment and away from the need and desire to control a situation so that we can be perfect, because who has ever been perfect anyway.
Allow yourself a moment to reflect on harsh and critical words that you have said to yourself today (we all have) and then extend yourself some self-compassion and grace. Extend that same compassion you would extend a loved one who had a hard day. Allow yourself the permission to do this. Take the space and the time. It might feel uncomfortable at first and that’s ok. It’s something new and different so of course it feels uncomfortable. Acknowledge it feels different and then extend yourself compassion again and again. The more we do it the easier and less uncomfortable it will become.
Hello! Welcome to my Blog on self care . I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Yoga Teacher.