2 Secrets You Must Know About PERFECTIONISM and How Not to Stress About Your Perfect Christmas Table
Updated: 4 days ago
Hello, My name is Anna and I’m a recovering perfectionist.
What’s your name?
I am not sure when it started, but I was always striving to be perfect in everything I did. Perfectionists are high achievers and can have greater expectations, and let’s face it, the world can be a much prettier place with our perfect decorations.
To be blunt here, I thought that everyone was like me: wanting to be perfect.
The upside of perfectionism is that we can have high expectations of ourselves and others. Having high expectations is not all bad, it can push you to aspire to achieve more and to show up as a better person. It can also motivate you and give others their needed assurance that the impossible is after all possible.
But the biggest downside of perfectionism is that it can truly make you feel overwhelmed. And that’s what today’s blog post is all about. Perfectionism can temper with your time and make you feel like you have none. It can make you feel alone.
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What is Perfectionism?
I remember a few years ago, I was hosting a family Christmas at home. Of course, I wanted everything to be perfect including the table decorations. So, I spent hours upon hours looking for the perfect navy napkins.
I needed deep, navy colour napkins to go with my décor.
But the horror of horrors I couldn’t find it! While running out of time I had to settle for what I was able to find at the last minute (although I was searching for weeks, nothing was up to my standards!)
You may say this was a funny, quirky obsession. And you are probably right. But this navy napkin incident showed me that I had a real, not-so-perfect problem.
Wanting to be perfect can have its good side.
It means you want to look good, have good grades at school, or deliver an outstanding presentation at work. Having standards that require us to stretch a little bit is good and valuable. They can enrich our lives.
But the moment your ‘all or nothing’ thinking makes you create unrealistic expectations, criticise yourself for achieving less, and stop yourself from doing something out of fear of failure, then you need to pause and take a deep breath.
Being perfect can be overwhelming, and the constant chase for the perfect job, perfect partner, perfect look, and perfect Christmas table décor can be very stressful. And above all, can be very time consuming.
Have you ever spent hours trying to pick the perfect photo for your presentation? Trying to meet your high expectations requires time, especially if you are not satisfied with your choices.
Or have you ever been running pros and cons to make a decision so, in the end, you didn’t make one? The fear of making the not-perfect decision can literally leave you undecisive.
Or how about saying you will apply for that perfect job later because you can’t find any at the moment? Delaying making decisions out of worry that what you pick next may not be perfect can stop you from looking. It can make you procrastinate.
How to Let Go of That Perfect Christmas Table
Lack of time can be one of the biggest challenges for a perfectionist. Rather than doing something to get things done, we may obsess and procrastinate, or fear of fears give up because the pressure of being perfect is too high.
But the biggest secret of perfectionism is that it is an illusion. It is an illusion to expect everything to be perfect all the time.
There will be always moments in life, where the decision we made turns out not to be the right one, and we will need to adjust. There will be times when even in our perfect job, we would miss out on promotion.
But not being perfect and not having a perfect life does not mean that everything is wasted.
Going back to my navy napkin story, was my Christmas ruined? No, it wasn’t. I still had a great time, and possibly I could have had an even better time without the added worry and stress, especially as I was the only one who even cared about the napkins.
The pivotal moment in managing perfectionism is to feel safe to relax your standards a little bit, to praise yourself for what you achieved no matter if it is perfect or not, to embrace the next challenge, and hope to do your best but have fun no matter if you meet your high standards or not.
Creating some distance for yourself can expand your horizons and you can see for yourself that not being perfect is not that bad.
How to Stop Being Perfect
If there is an unspoken truth about perfectionism, it is that striving to have everything perfect can be stressful and overwhelming. It can also take a lot of time to try many different things and still keep on searching for the next one which has got to be perfect.
Although perfectionists adhere to high standards which can push you to stretch a little bit more to have greater achievements, the downside is that often those high standards are out of reach.
When the fear of failure, indecisiveness, and procrastination take your precious time away, it’s time to let go. Perfectionism is an illusion. It is not possible to have everything perfect and be always perfect.
To feel safe to loosen your high standards can truly lead you to less overwhelm and to create that perfect Christmas table without unnecessary stress.
No time for things in your life? Join my newsletter to get the latest action steps on how to eat a healthy plant-based diet, de-stress, manage your time better, prioritize yourself, and anything in between so that you INCREASE your energy, SAVE time, and INVEST well in your wellness!
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