What is Perfectionism?
Perfectionism can be helpful and also unhelpful, it depends on the impact it has on your life. Helpful perfectionism is when you are moving towards what is important to you, and feel good about your accomplishments.
If you struggle with unhelpful perfectionism you may notice that you set extremely high and rigid standards for yourself – standards that you would never set for people you care about. You may find that you are achieving your goals, yet never feel satisfied with yourself.
Unhelpful perfectionism might also leave you paralyzed. You may avoid any situation where you could fail, make a mistake, or be mediocre. You may find that your life is getting smaller and smaller through this avoidance.
In unhelpful perfectionism your mind might also be very hard on you, it might be beating you up for mistakes you made in the past, and telling you that you will not achieve or accomplish what you want in life.
How Can Therapy Help with My Perfectionism?
In therapy, we would explore how exactly perfectionism is getting in the way of what matters to you. Our aim would be to help you do more of what you want to be doing in life. We would also practice self-compassion skills to better handle feelings of failure and self-critical thoughts that show up.
Change after all is an imperfect process, our aim of therapy would be to get better at being imperfect. I use the evidence-based approach of Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT) in my practice.
We are all living a life of gentle returnsDr. Kelly Wilson
co-founder of ACT