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Re: Figuring out Perfectionism

Hey @StormySeas17 

Thanks for sharing!! hahahah that's such an interesting way to improve! I'm so open to doing that myself. I relate to you so so so much though. I guess us perfectionists just have to support each other and keep pushing ourselves to give ourselves a break sometimes!


Re: Figuring out Perfectionism

Hey Everybody! 


I really love this thread, I too have struggled with perfectionism pretty much my whole life, and even my mum has talked to me about her struggles with perfectionism (so I know where I got it from!) 


I just wanted to jump on here to say, first of all I think the tips that have already been shared are really great. I especially liked @StormySeas17's comment doing things where you know you'll fail but it doesn't matter.

I personally tried out a squash course at the end of last year. I have never been good at racket sports, and I think a huge part of that has been related to overthinking, being too worried about embarrassing myself. I took on this course, honestly, because it was free, but that meant I had nothing invested in any kind of outcome. I didn't even tell anyone I was doing it, because I didn't want to have to then play squash with people and still be bad at it. Basically, the conditions I did it under freed me up to fail completely and no-one who I knew would ever have to know about it. It ended up having so much fun, started telling people about it and even invited my friend along to the final game. Best of all I won my last game! I think it was just a really important lesson in letting go of expectations, practicing quieting the mind and just focusing on the task at hand. I think this kind of practice is so helpful for perfectionism! Although we have noble goals I think sometimes thinking too much about the goal can distract from the process, and cause things like procrastination, or avoiding doing something all together.


I did also want to mention another tip, which I was given once, about values. It was a conversation about how disproportionate my happiness is after succeeding at something compared to my sadness over failing. I expect myself to do well so much that I don't gain happiness from success, but I can be brought right down by a failure. I was taught to take a wider look at my values as a person, rather than focusing so much on the specific task. Instead, I was encouraged to write down what "values", such as a kind person, or a good friend, or a helpful person, I hold dear and believe to be important (you can have values related to each facet of your life). Following this, I was encouraged to focus on how the activity was helping me to work towards those values, rather than a specific thing. 

For example, If a good grade is what I was striving towards, my related values as a person might be: to be a conscientious person, and to always seek out learning opportunities in order to grow. In this instance, even if I didn't achieve the grade, as long as I did my best effort in itself aligned with my values, therefore I had achieved success in that way. I hope that makes sense. 


These are just a few things that have helped me, and I've been taught, but maybe they will help other people as well? Would love to hear if anyone finds any of this stuff helpful at all. 


I'm also always looking for more ideas too, because it's hard to get the balance right! Smiley Happy


Re: Figuring out Perfectionism

Haha @ayrc_1904 us perfectionists need to stick together sometimes! Those two examples worked well for me but I think any 'mastery' art where the people in charge are empathetic to the process will work Smiley Happy


Hey @Lottie! I absolutely love that you shared your squash experience- it's so confronting to have to face your insecurities head-on and to smash it like that is insane Smiley Tongue I think you've made a really good point that so much of being a perfectionist or having to be perfect is really a label we give ourselves, we let it become part of our identity. Which I guess would be the reason you wanted to try doing squash without anyone you know being there, because it's part of your identity. I certainly find it relieving to be around new people when I'm in new situations without anyone I know being there- maybe it's because I'm too perfectionistic about my own appearances?


I find your values comments so helpful! I feel like so many people become unhappy when they let external objects rule their lives and I guess external goals like grades or money are the same! I also try super hard with everything I do so being conscientious would probably be a high-up value for me too.