I read an article on a mental health blog today called “Letting Go Of Perfectionism“. It ended with the advice:
How do you let go of perfectionism? You just decide to. You realize that the expectations are unreasonable and hurt you, You chose to let go of them. You don’t judge yourself. Ever. When the expectations come back, without judgment or frustration, you let go again.
I struggle with perfectionism. Or, more accurately, I berate myself if I perceive I’m not good enough. I wish it didn’t affect my life as much as it does, that my thinking was not so often based around whether I did x well enough, whether I’m good enough for y to happen, whether I did well enough for z to be proud of me.
But that bit of advice – ‘just decide to’ not be a perfectionist – is not as easy as it sounds. If it were that easy, I would have done it long ago. I need more than ‘just do it’ – it feels like being told ‘just climb Mount Everest’. Or ‘just run a three-minute mile’. There have got to be some steps to follow, because I can’t just wake up and say “I’m not going to beat myself up for being imperfect any more”. I need ways to work around it, things to do when I catch myself out.
Just do it is a great advertising slogan, but I don’t think it’s enough for everyone dealing with perfectionism.