If you struggle with perfectionism, you may also experience high levels of anxiety from trying to reach the unattainable standards perfectionism calls for. The funny thing about perfectionism is that even after you do everything to appease the voice of perfectionism, there is always something else to do to attain further perfection. This further perpetuates the cycle of perfectionism and feelings of inadequacy.
Although it may seem contradictory, the remedy for not being perfect is to accept and embrace imperfection. It seems like getting rid of perfectionist tendencies requires meeting the high standards you set for yourself, but quite the opposite is true.
Surrendering and letting go can be scary as it involves releasing control. It may take practice and a bit of discipline, but learning to let go of the small things perfectionism makes you dwell on can help you overcome it.
Doing the Opposite
Deciding to not listen to the “shoulda, coulda, woulda”s of perfectionism may cause more anxiety than peace at first. Doing so is the antidote to anxiousness caused by perceived imperfection and messiness. Doing the opposite means learning to love the imperfections of things, which eventually lets anxiety dissipate when things do not go as planned.
Try making things messy on purpose. If you make things cluttered, off-center, crooked, and disorganized on purpose, it can help you learn to be okay with imperfection. Take this in baby steps; you do not have to destroy everything that is put together. This is simply a way to embrace doing the opposite of perfectionist tendencies so that they can leave you in peace.
Making Peace With Perfectionism
As a perfectionist, you know better than anyone that things can go wrong at any moment in any number of ways. When you learn to make peace with the fact that things do not always turn out how you wanted them to, changes and setbacks will cause you less anxiety.
Making peace with perfectionism may not feel like peace at first, but this is your sign to keep going and challenge that voice. Experiencing anxiety in the face of change and challenging old habits does not mean you are doing anything wrong. It means you are embracing change and allowing yourself to let your process be what it is, which can feel messy.
The more you challenge these old parts of you, the less anxiety you will feel over them, and the more safety and peace you will feel in the absence of perfectionism. Then, you can allow life to happen for you, rather than trying to control it.
Perfectionism can hold you back from healing, growing, and recovering from substance abuse and mental illness. Although it can be scary, letting go of perfection is the very thing that also allows you to cultivate safety in being imperfect, and thus being yourself. At Avalon Malibu, we understand how difficult it can be to let go of what feels safe and create new ways to embrace imperfection. Our treatment programs can help you overcome perfectionism and anxiety. Call Avalon Malibu today at (844) 857-5992.