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4 Ways to Ease Your Perfectionism

It’s not easy being a perfectionist. You may be putting out some of your best work, but at the same time the standards you set for yourself are extremely difficult to live up to. The solution seems easy enough, right? Just lower your expectations!

But when you’re a perfectionist, lowering your expectations, especially in regards to yourself, is sometimes impossible. Perfectionism isn’t an issue, necessarily. Wanting to do your best and work hard on your tasks is important. It does become an issue, however, when it interferes with how you feel about yourself and how you perceive your accomplishments.

It’s not easy to just get rid of perfectionist thinking, but there are small things you can do to begin being a little easier on yourself.

  1. Tell yourself it’ll be okay. To a perfectionist, when things don’t go as expected, it may seem like a terrible situation. When you feel like things aren’t going the way you wanted (and are therefore not perfect and not okay), tell yourself that it’ll be okay. Some situations may seem life or death, but when looking at the big picture, they won’t matter so much. Remember to tell yourself that you’re only human, and that regardless of your mistakes, everything will be okay!

  2. Catch your negative thoughts. Perfectionists’ harshest critics are themselves. When you’re really focused on doing something just right and getting it exactly as you want, it’s easy to critique yourself on small things. When you find that you’ve started to have negative thoughts about yourself, your accomplishments, and/or your capabilities, stop yourself before you can even complete the thought. As you continue to catch these negative thoughts, you can make room for more positive thoughts!

  3. Pat yourself on the back. You are amazing! If you don’t believe me, then you should believe yourself! It’s common for perfectionists to think that they haven’t done enough or they haven’t done a good enough job. Instead of thinking about what you haven’t done or what you could have done better, pat yourself on the back for everything you have accomplished whether it be in that hour, in that day, or even in that whole year!

  4. Treat yo’self​. These aren’t my own words nor is this phrase my own advice, but I think it’s one of the greatest pieces of advice in the world. As a perfectionist, you work tirelessly to make sure everything is perfect, and you deserve a break (and a treat) just as much as anybody else! Remember to take a breather and just treat yo’self.
    You can’t just stop being a perfectionist overnight, but there are little things you can do everyday that will help you love yourself more and make you feel more positive throughout your life!

Ila Mostafa is currently a Neuroscience major and Biology minor at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family. She is usually either starting a new story without finishing an older one or studying. Ila hopes to go to graduate school and eventually do research on Parkinson's Disease.
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