HOW TO OVERCOME PERFECTIONISM – DAY TWENTY-SEVEN -FREE 101 COURSE

Accepting imperfection aids in letting go, which is what this post is about.

Anti-perfection quotes

One of the steps to emotional fitness is dealing with the fact that no one is perfect. Painful because it taps into childhood’s reservoir of shame.

Children struggle with shame when they come to realize they are powerless over some things but quite capable of doing the unthinkable – between two and three. The unthinkable according to  Jerome Kagan, human development specialist, is part of the story of Cain and Abel.  Jealousy leading to murder.

For a three year old the unthinkable is the desire to do away with the people that keep you from doing what you want.  The only ones you have power over are younger siblings and small animals.  Kagan points out a strong counter emotion is needed to keep from acting on violent impulses, hence why shame emerges at this particular age and stage.

Also at that age any failure to do something perfectly creates shame, not being good enough.  Shame is all about having to be perfect and fearing other people’s response when you are imperfect.

What to do  Three tips.

First tip: Practice imperfection. Think good enough, when obsessed with getting anything a bit more perfect.  Use “Good enough” as a mantra.

Second tip: Rate how good any effort needs to be. Here’s the Rating Scale poster.

Third tip: Challenge delusions of perfection on the media and in real life.  Look for twisted thinking in all media.  Look for people seeking perfection and say gently, “Good enough seem best in this situation” or something to that effect.

And yes, however, you apply me advice when it works for you it is good enough although less than perfect all the time for all people. As some wise people note about advice “Take what you find helpful, leave the rest.”

 When professional help is needed. As with physcial fitness, emotional fitness exists on a continuum. Seeking perfection can be taken to an extreme. Two extremes that need professional help need to be recognized.

The first? Religious fanaticism.  If you feel less than perfect and deeply shamed by that fact, you often seek help controlling your imperfection in the practice of your faith.  You hope the more perfectly you pray or obey, the more your darker urges will be held in check.  As the revelations of priestly abuse fully demonstrate, religion does not always protect one from sinning.  When faith does not control baser instincts, professional help is needed.

Moreover, when we push our fanaticism on others it becomes a justification of hatred and violence. Another time professional help is needed and by not just people, but some  countries and cultures in our world.

Second extreme: Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD).  Think handwashing that leaves your hands red and raw.  Think not being perfectly sure, you locked your car door and checking not once but hundreds of times.  Professional help is needed.

Parenting tips

First tip: Say “Good try” twice as often as you say “Try harder.”

Second tip: If you child is engaged in competitive sports, counter The Winning is everything mentality with “Having fun is winning even when you lose.”

Third tip: Teach rating scales early on.

Fourth tip: With those moving into the changing thoughts of adolescence engage in conversations about what matters, sweating the small stuff.

Fifth tip:  Children of all ages can be caught up in perfectionism.  Be alert to the possiblity a child is caught by OCD. Here is a handout, I used when teaching

OCD quidelines

This is an information guide, if you are worried, about a child talk to a competent mental health professional, share this handout with him or her.

DAILY PROMPT  – Calling Uncle Bob  Have you ever faced a difficult situation when you had to choose between sorting it out yourself, or asking someone else for an easy fix? What did you choose — and would you make the same choice today?

FREE  STUFF FROM EFTI

All the handouts and poster coaches for this course are being posted at the store so you can download them for free.

Apologies if you cannot find one.  I am a Jill of all in this business, so some things take longer than others.  If something used here isn’t posted yet, you will find lots of other offerings including inspirational quotes or more EFTI exercises. In time all will be posted.

LINKS OF INTEREST

NEXT UP

The Honor Your Strength Exercise a Letting Go tool to counter perfectionism.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Please rate this material. Doing so helps me ratings. This is what your stars will mean to me. No stars – Not helpful; One star – Reinforced my knowledge –  Two Stars; New information –  Three stars;  New useful information; Four stars – Very good; Five stars – Excellent.

Thank you and work at staying strong until next time,. I work hard to do the same as life is often difficult but staying strong lets me find the good.

Katherine

8 Comments

  1. Pingback: Called God in difficult situation and he helped | Lord of the Sick – Saviour of the World

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  3. Reblogged this on Zi's Beauty Balm and commented:
    I had a perfectionist boyfriend at one time. He had to have everything in Alphabetical order. I thought as far as my CD collection went it would be a good idea, would be easier to find, then I had filled my binder and so was not going through re-filing them. a little chaos and unorganized things are good; It keeps you on your toes

      • My mother complains about everything! about her doing everything bt then when you do it, it’s not with the right spoon or fork or pan etc. Frankly.. Then don’t complain about how i do something when I actually do it. It’s not jsut that it’s lots of other thans I swear one of these days I’m slipping some of my Anxiety/depression meds into her wine when I get it!

      • My mother’s complaints seemed mostly about me. She did have a good side, hope yours did. The days following my Mom’s death, I had the sense she wrapped a blanket of love around me and asked me to forgive her shortcomings. Sad that had to come with her death, but grateful as it healed much.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.