Your best is enough July 15, 2014 – Posted in: Confidence, Personal Development – Tags: coaching, compassion, confidence, goals, growth, Life Coach, mindfulness, perfectionism, Personal Development, Positive psychology, positive thinking, self esteem, success
Your best is enough…
The more clients I see, the more I become convinced that we live in a culture where perfectionism is rife and I believe it’s sucking the life out of us. We try to sculpt our bodies into perfectly lean model sizes (unable to enjoy our normal bodies because they’re not “perfect”), we boast on Facebook about our perfect lives on our perfectly groomed summer lawns or in front of our perfectly decorated Christmas trees (who are we kidding?) and we constantly worry that our lives are not as great as those of our neighbours.
Why? What on earth makes us do this to ourselves?
There are various definitions of perfectionism but for me it’s one of the masks worn by fear. Fear that your best isn’t good enough, that someone else is better, that there is something inherently wrong with who you are. I once challenged someone on the perfectionism I perceived in them and her response was, “But, how can I be a perfectionist? I’ve never done anything perfectly!” Perfectionism can be so entrenched it hides from those who suffer with it.
The perceived view of perfectionism is that of the driven taskmaster (which it can be) but perfectionism can also cause serious inaction – perfectionists often won’t start something unless they know they can do it perfectly or finish it in one hit. I know someone who desperately wants a baby but is so afraid of screwing it up (like she perceives her parents did with her) that she has put her dream of motherhood to bed. That is perfectionism and it’s stifling her entire life.
Like most character traits perfectionism can be an asset when used for your benefit. If the intention of perfectionism is to do your best and give your best then it can be a positive thing. However, you are in choppy waters when perfectionism starts pointing out everything you’re doing wrong and stifles any progress you might otherwise make.
Perfection is a myth anyway. Perfection is also subjective; what I think of as ideal could be a million miles from your concept of it. So, these days I try to strive for progress rather than the perfectionism that, quite frankly, nearly destroyed me.
Your best is enough – and it always has been.
This column originally appeared in my Life Column for The Bath Magazine.