What you will learn from this blog:
- There is a difference between’perfectionism’ and’healthy striving’
- When we clearly identify our goals and intentions and connect to our feelings, we start to be motivated by our authentic passions, rather than trying to please others and live up to society’s expectations
In our previous blog, we discussed how perfectionism guises itself in many ways, and how people often confuse perfectionism with self-improvement.
We explained how it is important to understand that perfectionism can hamper success – causing anxiety, overthinking, stress, missed opportunities and depression; which are key signs we have seen from our clients at Intracresco.
During wellness coaching, we share with our clients that perfectionism stems from the need to ‘fit in’ as opposed to ‘healthy striving’, which allows room for ‘belonging and authenticity’.
In this blog, we explore 3 ways to overcome perfectionism:
Identify ‘What is it that I want to achieve?’
In the past I (Kavitha) often found myself floating from one thing to the next. There was barely any thinking as to why I did what I did.
On the rare occasions, I did venture into asking ‘why’ – the answer usually involved something along the lines of:
- “Isn’t this the norm? Everyone does this so it must be the right thing to do”
- “Doing this would make person XYZ happy”
- “This is what is expected of me”
While including others (people close to you or those who may be affected by your actions) in your decision-making process is important, excluding yourself from the process is detrimental.
Let’s look at two types of people;
A perfectionist usually puts others first and does things to seek validation or approval from others often at the expense of their own well-being.
Healthy striving is carefully considering all your possible options, thinking about your own capacity to manage the task, considering those that may be involved in the process, and doing what you can within reasonable means.
Clarify your intention: Your ‘why’ behind the ‘yes’
The intention behind every action matters. Before saying ‘yes’ to a task, think about your ‘WHY’.
Some guiding questions:
- “Why am I doing this task?”
- “What is my expectation once the task is complete?”
- “What happens if the outcome is not what I expected?”
Perfectionism sets unachievable high standards. When those standards are not met, you feel like a failure. You feel as if no matter how hard they try, no matter how much they accomplish, perfectionism makes them feel like they are never going to be enough.
But this is not true. During our wellness coaching sessions, we encourage our clients to strive for healthy intentions through “healthy striving”.
Healthy striving is about getting your intention right and setting realistic goals. It may sounds like:
- “It’s not realistic to have this done by the end of the week. Let me ask for an extension.”
- “This is a big task, let me ask for help.”
Connect to your feelings
Your mind, body and emotions are powerful indicators of your inner reality. Learn to understand and connect with them. They will tell you exactly what you need to know.
When an action is carried out from a space of perfectionism, your body, mind and emotions are going to rebel. You may feel intimidated and weighed down. Fear that your goals won’t be met grips you, causing you to procrastinate and be less productive. You may feel your boundaries are being violated, yet you feel helpless.
On the other hand, healthy striving leaves you feeling energized, excited and motivated by your goals. You feel full and happy. You celebrate small victories and practise self-compassion, viewing things from a different perspective:
- “I choose to do this because it makes me feel happy.”
- “Yes, I did not achieve what I intended to, but I tried my best and that’s all that matters.”
- “This task provides an interesting opportunity for me to grow and expand.”
This blog helps differentiate between a perfectionist mindset and healthy striving.
As much as I (Kavitha) would like to say, “I’m completely over being a perfectionist,” I’d rather be authentic and admit and the tendency to, “please, perform and perfect” does slip in occasionally. However, it is met with kindness and compassion.
Our work at Intracresco is grounded in our own life experiences overcoming trauma and finding purpose.
Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism allows one to step away from ‘fitting in’ and into ‘belonging and authenticity’. We at Intracresco are here to guide you through our wellness coaching and online therapy services in Singapore.
Learn more about how you can work with us on online therapy in Singapore. We at Intracresco are here to support you through your journey of rediscovering yourself. Reach out to us if you would like us to guide you on your journey back to your authentic self.