There is nothing wrong with being a person focused on attention to detail, appreciating the finer things in life or enjoying the success of high performance in your personal or professional life.
However, if you find that you are someone striving for perfection in everything you do, you could actually be holding yourself back from achieving more, trying more and enjoying more, as a result.
Confidence in women is already often too rare a trait, so to balance the fine line of overconfidence is tricky – but actually, perfectionists are often less confident than they may come across.
Perfectionism is defined as the refusal to accept any standard less than perfection. In some instances, this is attainable – but in most, it is not.
Too often, perfectionism is a result of high self-criticism that results in low self-esteem and provides an inferiority complex that others may understand to be a superiority complex! In short, it can make you less likeable to others even when achieving more, and it won’t help build your own confidence.
Those who follow perfectionism may believe to do so is healthy, and in some situations, it can help boost standards and performance. However, perfectionism is something that can quickly spiral out of control and cause even the most confident of women to second-guess themselves, their decisions, their work and the people around them.
Instead of pitting what we perceive to be a weak woman vs. a strong woman, or to analyse questions such as “why are women jealous of other women?” “how can I outperform other women?” or “why can’t other women meet my standards?”, instead we need to work on our own behaviour and loosen up a little. To do so isn’t just beneficial for us – it’s beneficial for all women!
So, how can you do this? Read on…
Battle Your Inner Critic
Perfectionists often struggle to meet their goals because they have to get one thing just perfect before they can move on to the next.
Realistically, this is rarely the case. There are lots of things in life you’ll never feel ‘ready’ for. Ask anyone with children, and they’ll tell you there is no such thing as ‘ready’!
Sometimes you have to accept circumstances and move with them; go with the flow as such. You’re more than capable of learning as you go. Holding down that inner-critic that’s telling you not to until everything is just right, is self-care – and you’ll be surprised at how quickly positive change can happen even when things aren’t running at 100%!
Say No When You Need To
As women we are often overly conditioned to say ‘yes’ to things that we don’t really want to, don’t really enjoy or don’t really hold any interest in.
Perfectionists tend to have high ambition but taking on more when you are already overwhelmed will only cause your perfectionism to increase. If something isn’t right, say ‘no’. Not every opportunity has to be grabbed with both hands and not every change or move needs to happen. Trust your gut and set boundaries.
Keep Goals Realistic
Adjusting standards isn’t comfortable for perfectionists, but it is necessary. Document exactly what is needed, what is acceptable, and what would be considered great for any situation – and work towards the first. Reach acceptable… and then consider how much more needs to be done. If you can, let it go, and if not, strive to reach a couple of points under the ‘great’ heading. You’ll probably find the reception to the work or decision just as positive, but it will have involved much less stress and anxiety for you!
Perfectionists need a good reason to move off of one task and onto the next in order to stop refining it and continuing to try and reach perfection on it.
Set yourself deadlines for things to be completed and closed or set timeframes to work on each thing.
Lock your phone or computer or whatever necessary after this time period so that you’re unable to continue stressing over the small stuff. Ensuring you have good reasons to move onto the next thing can help stop you getting hung up and spending unnecessary time and effort on whats already done.
Perfectionism isn’t an easy habit to lose, but the benefits will be noticeable once you start to loosen your grip.
Remember: part of what makes women strive for unattainable perfection is pressure from society, and you are not a Stepford Wife… you’re a brilliant, flawed, beautiful human woman.