5 Ways to Check your Inner Perfectionist

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I am a type A lady and though I completely acknowledge perfection doesn’t exist -except in atlanta-boot-camp-workout the form of my lovely wife (HOLLA! Valentines Day Points!!)-I am regularly surprised at how easy it is for me to slip into the mindset that perfection is real and even more crazy THAT IT MATTERS. I may have blown a few other type A personality’s minds with that one-hold on, more to come.

There are benefits to believing in perfection-I mean, of course there have to be because otherwise why would I get in the trap of thinking that way. What I notice is that the benefits are really mostly serving outside sources and the drawbacks affect lil ol’ gold star wanting-A+ having-believinginthepermanentrecord me.

For example, a belief in perfection with a side of Type A means you’re usually pretty productive. You’re able to get a lot done and complete tasks well and if you’re really a junkie-better than ANYONE else. For employers, this can be amazing and if gone unchecked as a perfectionist this fuels the fire for more crazy tendencies. I find when I’m really in the flophouse that is the perfection junky hangout I have completely over committed myself from the amount of projects for my employer to the social engagements or community service commitments. So here I am participating in all these things that I agreed to -because I totes get a high from being granted responsibility or being trusted with projects-and I am resenting the hell out of all of it. I’ve committed to things I think will be fun, or are good for others, or I think are expected of me and now I’d like to punch everyone in the face for “making me” do it. I think I have an idea who should really get a punch in the face-that honor student self that still thinks she’s trying to get into a good college and some how thinks she’s getting a grade for life. So, for me the perfectionist downside is often that I’m going around resentful and then guilty because I know I got myself into it and am generally tired and miserable←–my perfectionist self would like to act like this part doesn’t exist, it never likes coming down.

The cycle of overcommitting goes on until I realize when I’m trying to invite friends over that I don’t have a weekend free to do it for 2.5 months. And I do the palm to the forehead slap realizing that I’ve done it again. My little perfectionist ego has gotten its way with me and has been feeding on the sweet sweet drug of approval from others and thinking that perfection is real.

So when is this post going to turn into some other than a carefrontation with myself? Right here:

5 Ways to Check your Inner Perfectionist:

1. Bring awareness to your perfectionist tendencies and start examining the mind talk around them-then question that shit! Is it true? do I care about it? does it serve me?

2. Examine the expectations for your task/presentation/etc. and determine how you can deliver on just that. Not the cray cray expectations you’ve put on yourself.

3. AND once you’ve completed the projects/tasks etc at what your gold start lovin’ self would consider an imperfect standard acknowledge that the world 1. did not end and quite likely 2. people were happy with the result as is. Wear a hat for that one ‘cause that shizz can be mind blowing. Sometimes my perfectionist self makes me believe that if I don’t go crazy with doing things “right” and even “better” the only other choice is “barely delivering.” The gap is much broader than that. I know, mind.blown.

4.  Give yourself at least 5 minutes before committing to something. Type A Perfectionist Pleasers love to say YES! to everyone but themselves when they want time off. If you’re an over committer block out time on your calendar that is unscheduled so you don’t accidently wake up with your next 6 mos planned.

5. Breathe and accept this side of yourself exists and needs to be questioned. It doesn’t have to be a battle by any means, but when you realize “oh I totally bought into that if this party doesn’t have the most amazing, organic, hard to find cheeses paired with the heavily researched exact RIGHT wines then this party fails” laugh at yourself. Don’t get in the guilt spiral for “doing it again.” We humans are fairly ridiculous and regularly do things that are worth laughing at; laugh more.

So, what is one of your perfectionist scripts? Give me a sentence in the comments below!

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2 Responses to “5 Ways to Check your Inner Perfectionist”

  1. Meredith Walters February 12, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    I love this post! Love it. But only because it’s perfect. 😉

    I regularly have to take the reins back from my Inner Perfectionist, who is a power-hungry maniac. She likes to point out how I’m exercising wrong (my knee came up a few inches short on that one), working wrong (i’m not taking enough breaks and now–oh my god!–I’ve taken way too many), or even thinking wrong (what’s wrong with me that I want to be perfect all the time?).

    I like turning up the volume as a method in addition to the ones you mentioned. If I really just listen to what she’s asking of me, I realize how absurd it all is, and how easy it is to find humor in it.

  2. Rich February 12, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    Thanks!

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