The Problem With Perfectionism: How to Embrace Imperfection

Perfectionism—the tendency to demand flawlessness from yourself or others—can often be believed as a positive quality. Perfectionists tend to be highly motivated and ambitious, and thanks to their close attention to detail and their willingness to work long hours, they often excel in all aspects of their lives, especially academically and professionally.

However, perfectionism also has a downside. In some cases, perfectionists can be overly critical, taking an all-or-nothing mindset and failing to accept anything that doesn’t meet their (sometimes unattainable) standards, no matter how much time and effort went into the work. Perfectionists also tend to base their own self-worth on their performance abilities, which can be damaging if they don’t deliver perfect results. In fact, studies have shown that perfectionists often experience higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, and are more likely to become burned out.

Tips for Embracing Imperfection

Perfectionism can be difficult to overcome, but it’s possible to do so. Here are some tips for how to manage perfectionist tendencies:

  • Set more realistic goals
  • Accept change and grow in your ability to pivot
  • Reduce how much effort you’re putting into tasks and pay attention to whether anyone notices any difference in the results
  • Try to think of mistakes as learning opportunities
  • Create opportunities for enjoyment that are not connected to academic or professional gains
  • Embrace your imperfections/flaws
  • Learn and practice mindfulness meditation, yoga and holistic activities that promote deeper connection to the self
  • Recognize when you begin to think like a perfectionist, and then challenge those thoughts
  • Offer yourself grace, kindness and compassion through self-reflection and positive affirmations
  • If seeing pictures and videos of people leading seemingly perfect lives triggers you, remind yourself that their posts are likely curated (and if that still doesn’t work, try taking a break from social media altogether)

For More Information

Do you suspect that you might be a perfectionist? If so, we invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation to determine compatibility for beginning individual therapy with us. We’re highly experienced in treating clients who struggle with perfectionism, and we can supply you with personalized support and resources that will help you embrace imperfections/flaws and improve your quality of life. Contact us today to get started.

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1949 Goldsmith Lane, Ste. 103
Louisville, KY 40218
(502) 317-6521

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