August 5, 2022

Dear Perfectionist, You Have Nothing to Prove

Perfectionism is a greatly misunderstood phenomenon. Perfectionists are perceived as people who need things to be done to the highest standards. In some ways, this can seem like a good thing; people who focus on achieving often do so, no matter what the cost. Perfectionists often feel pressure to perform at the highest levels. This can result in fear of failure, overcompensation, and low self-esteem. Basing your worth as a person on your performance creates immense pressure to do everything ‘right’. There is little room for growth when your baseline is perfection. Our mistakes and missteps are just as much part of our growth as our achievements.

If you are someone who struggles with the pressure to be perfect, ask yourself: what does ‘perfect’ look like to you?

Each person will have a different answer to this question. That is because ‘perfect’ is a moving target. The closer to it we get, the more it changes and the less attainable it becomes; so we keep reaching. Take a second to think about who sets the norms for perfection. Does it come from you? Does it come from your culture or your family? Does it come from societal expectations? These standards for perfection do not exist in a vacuum, they are influenced by multiple factors in your life.

The knowledge that there is no ‘perfect’ can be freeing. The strive for perfection can get in the way of developing lasting self-confidence. Comments from others are fleeting, but truly believing in your abilities is an important step on the road to confidence. You have nothing to prove to others, just yourself. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes and grow from them.

Photo Credit: Canva

Written by Jessy Pucker, LMSW

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