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Being a perfectionist can make life very complicated, for one is ever seeking to attain the unattainable. Perfectionists often find it difficult to contemplate being otherwise, and yet the fear of not doing things perfectly can paralyze us. Here are some thoughts and questions for people suffering from perfectionism.
1. How much does your perfectionism interfere with your life as you would like to live it?
Does it make you happy?
2. You know that you cannot really be perfect.
Do you know that fear of not being perfect can lead to procrastination so intense that it may become paralysis? Even if not that extreme, it can lead to the inability to start projects, and the inability to finish them.
3. Did you know that the makers of traditionally superb Persian rugs always added a flaw to each carpet?
They believed that only the Creator can create perfection, and for them to try to do so would be unduly arrogant. The deliberately added flaw was an admission of their humanity and their humility.
4. What would happen if you chose not to be perfect – to accept minor imperfections in yourself and your work?
Would the sky fall? Would there be serious consequences? What would they be?
5. Who originally told you that everything you do has to be perfect?
Does the opinion of that person still have the right to run your life? To ruin your life?
6. We are in control of our lives to the extent that we make choices. Do you CHOOSE perfectionism, or does it feel more like a compulsion?
If perfectionism is not your choice, how can you move toward the acceptance of yourself as you are, including minor imperfections, as a conscious choice?
7. Think of the people you most like and respect. Are they perfect?
Probably not, yet you still like and respect them. Why should you think others would not feel the same way about you?
8. Think of the most perfect presently living person you know. Is this person fully perfect?
Is this person lovable? Is this person fun and comfortable to be around? Do you want to be like this person? Do you truly want other people to experience you as you experience him/her?
9. Think of the people you love most in your life. Do you insist that they be perfect?
If you do… what kind of a life are you pushing them towards? If you don’t… then why do you demand more of yourself than you demand of those other people?
10. Perfectionism often prevents us from bringing a project to completion.
Can you learn to think of each project or mini-project as a beta version, and bring just that version of it to completion? That way, you are not saying that you must accept it exactly as it is, but you have at least completed it, while knowing that if you need to you can revisit and do more tweaking again later.
Diana Gardner Robinson, PhD, has been coaching for more than twelve years and has built a reputation for integrity, insight and an intuitive grasp of client concerns. She specializes in coaching clients to transform their dreams into reality, sometimes aided by focusing on self-confidence, authenticity, balance, written and spoken communication, and/or creativity. Creativity and motivation were the topics of Diana’s dissertation when obtaining her doctorate in Social Psychology. She was recognized by the International Coach Federation as a Professional Certified Coach in 2005. She is qualified as a Confidence Coaching Graduate, a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach, and a Certified World Class Speaking Coach. Diana may be reached at Diana@DianaRobinson.com or visited at http://www.ChoiceCoach.com.
Overcoming Perfectionism by Roz Shafran, Sarah Egan, and Tracey Wade
When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism by Martin M. Antony and Richard P. Swinson
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