How to Stop Being a Perfectionist and Love Who You Are
If you’re a perfectionist who’s ready to give up the habit, you need to watch this.
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Every overachiever has a picture of who she thinks she’s supposed to be, right? When I was a teenager, I pretty much wanted to grow up to be Rachel Green from Friends. She was really cool, everybody loved her, and she had amazing hair and clothes. But, I also wanted to be Valedictorian and go to an Ivy League school like Rory from Gilmore Girls. Oh, and if Jordan Catalano from My So Called Life were to fall madly in love with me, that would have been swell. Now I recognize that you younger millennials did not grow up with Jordan Catalano and that makes me sad for you. So, here… You like that? So 90’s it hurts, right?
So, was it really too much to ask to be gorgeous and popular, have amazing hair and clothes, be the smartest girl in my class, get into the best college in the country, and win the heart of a boy so beautiful that doves cry when gaze look upon his face? The answer to that question is: Uh, yeah! Even if any of the people I just mentioned actually existed, we can’t just pick and choose the best traits from these very different people and then leave out all of their flaws. It doesn’t work that way. And expecting otherwise is definitely setting yourself up for failure. Besides, Jordan Catalano eventually grew up to look like this.
So, how does a perfectionist learn to become a mere mortal? Here are 6 tips from girl who has been there:
1. Focus on the things you’re proud of
If you’re the perfectionist type, I’m willing to bet there are a lot of cool things you’ve accomplished already. Why don’t you let yourself enjoy them? Any time you feel like you’re falling short, quickly remind yourself of 3 things that you’re proud of. It will help to put things in perspective and remind you of how awesome you already are.
2. Lower your standards!
I know, you already hate this one. But hear me out. Perfectionists usually believe they only have two options: Absolute perfection or absolute failure. You think that if you let your guard down, everything will fall apart on you. And that just isn’t true! You have to remember, that because your standards are so high, lowering them a little doesn’t equate to failure. It equates to pretty freakin’ good! Try cutting down your goals to about 80%. I don’t know why, 80% just seems to be the magic number where the girls I work with are happy and relaxed, but still get what they need for their future goals. All I can say is to try it. You’ll see that it feels a lot better. And it won’t lead to disaster, I promise!
3. Correct your thoughts
When we’re beating ourselves up, we often say things that aren’t really true. Are you actually stupid? Do you really suck? Are you truly ugly? (Just so we’re clear, the answer is no, by the way!) The things we say to ourselves are really important. Make sure the things you are telling yourself are actually true. And if they aren’t, fix them. If you need some more help with this one, I have another video that teaches you how to change your thoughts so they help you instead of holding you back. Make sure to check it out!
Related: Beat the Bully in Your Head
4. Be your own best friend
Speaking of how we talk to ourselves, we would never talk that way to anyone else, would we? Can you imagine spending the day telling your friend how stupid she sounded during her presentation? Of course not! You would tell her that she did great and that she sounded brilliant. Or you’d at least say that no one noticed when she stuttered in the beginning. So make sure you’re doing that for yourself too. Nobody needs a Mean Girl instead her head all day.
5. Get help
Beating yourself up for falling short accomplishes absolutely nothing except making you feel like crap. So why not do something productive instead? If you truly think you bombed a presentation, why not ask someone for help with your public speaking skills? That way you can actually improve your skills instead of feeling bad about not being great at it already. When you’re a perfectionist, it’s really hard to admit to people that you have a weakness. But, I’ll tell you something. They already know! No one else think you’re perfect. And no one besides you judges you for it either.
6. Learn to love your quirks
Speaking of flaws, everyone has them. And I’ll tell you something you need to hear: Your flaws are what make you interesting and likeable. It’s true! Who would you rather be friends with: The girl who’s always perfectly poised or the girl who snorts when she laughs? This is why we love girls like Anna Kendrick, Taylor Swift, and Jennifer Lawrence. Because even though they’re famous and crazy talented, they’re also regular girls who sometimes trip on stage at an awards show. They’re human. We don’t like perfect on other people. Perfect is obnoxious and intimidating. So really try to embrace your quirks instead of being embarrassed of them. Nobody minds them nearly as much as you do, I promise!
So, give those a try! Focus on the things you’re proud of. Lower your standards for yourself. Make sure the things you say about yourself are true. Be your own best friend. Get some help if you need it. And learn to love your imperfections. Sounds pretty awesome, right?