One of the big problems with perfectionism is that it often disguises itself as ambition and motivation. All of these things can be correct, to some extent ... It's nice to try something in life or not? It is good to have dreams, to work hard to achieve them! And, the result is not always a condition, it is objective for many! But these traits sometimes become obsessive, inclusive, and inaccessible. Perfectionism has a wicked way of imposing impossible standards on us all! Often when we touch one of the standards, the other one appears to be tempting us, and it resembles a never-ending, laborious game ... Perfectionism can be exhausting!
It can be really hard to try to be absolutely amazing at everything you do! If you want to distract yourself from perfectionism, you must first admit that this is not good for you. Like smoking or drinking alcohol, perfectionism can be very detrimental to your health. When you notice that this goal is stressing your life a lot, set new priorities and put your well-being on the first list of things to accomplish.
Think about it: what would really happen if something you did wasn't totally perfect? Chances are the world will not get bored and your loved ones will not turn against you. Don't believe us? Give it a go! Start with something low-risk, like sending an email to a workmate without correcting it, getting out of the house without washing your hair, or buying something without reading a review beforehand. At first, it may seem completely unnatural, but it will help you to see that you really do not have to be perfect at everything.
Before you go to bed, write down everything that went well during the day and be grateful. This is so powerful. It's so easy to end the day complaining, instead of challenging yourself and writing down what really went well. It's an easy way to instill more positivity into your life, every day of your life.
Well-known sensory guru Paul Gilbert has discovered that there are three different systems of emotional regulation in our brains that we mix when managing emotions that lead us to a certain state.
The first two are dangerous and steering systems. The threat system is a way of fighting that comes into play to protect us, but it can also lead us to overthrow and panic. The car system, which is about perfectionism, is the system that motivates us towards the things we want (like a new job, a better car, more money, fitness goals).
In moderation, both of these systems have positive qualities. But if our brains spend too much time on each of them, our mental well-being can suffer. For example, spending too much time in our car system can lead to addiction, stress, greed, etc. Whereas, being adapted to our threat system can result in anxiety and worry.
The best way to keep control of our threat system is to get the third system running: the soothing system. This system is about being content all the time and grateful for what you have in life, not complaining about what you have left, etc.
It is difficult to think positively when stuck in a vortex of negative thoughts. So start by trying to find only one exception to the narrative your inner critic is making to you.
Start challenging your inner critic and show who the boss is!