Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

O.k., I admit it. I am a perfectionist. Well, I’m actually a recovering perfectionist, but my perfectionist tendencies show their ugly head from time to time, like this past week. I didn’t realize it until I found myself in tears talking with friends. What came out was the stress, pressure, and anxiety I was feeling around getting “it all done” and “getting it all done perfectly.”

It really boiled down to: the pressures I was putting on myself to get xxx done by Thurs., this xxx done by Tues., this xxx has to be exactly right, etc. Oh, the ugly giant coming back from the depths of where I had thought I left it! The belief that everything has to be perfect or else…!

Or else what? Or else I’ll look stupid, people won’t be able to rely on me, they’ll be disappointed in me, they think I’m a flake, they’ll judge me, they won’t sign up for my programs, and if they don’t sign up for my programs, I can’t pay my bills, and if I don’t pay my bills, I’ll lose everything I have, etc., etc.

That’s the train of thought in the subconscious, and what it really boils down to: a lurking, old belief that I’m not enough. So I hide from the belief or prove myself through being perfect. I’ll be enough if I do this xxx perfectly, or that xxx perfectly. If I cut the grass perfectly, or write the perfect article, or say the perfect thing, or dress the perfect way, or keep my word every time even if it means giving up sleep or feeling stressed. These are “self pressures” they are NOT reality!!

This past week I found myself feeling anxious and stressed. I went to a retreat with a Tibetan teacher over the weekend believing that would “fix” it, but it didn’t. It didn’t until I realized what I was doing: being a perfectionist! I was putting unrealistic pressures on myself. After letting out some tears, and being honest with myself in what I was doing, I could see it. 

I could see that I am enough and when I let go of things/tasks being done by a certain time or in a certain way, I felt extreme relief and peace. I am enough and so are you. If you can relate to any of this, you may struggle with perfectionism as well. I completely hear where you are coming from, and know that you are not alone. And you don’t have to be a perfectionist.

Take a look at the pressures you are putting on yourself. What do you believe you HAVE to do, or else… and go down the “or else” train of thought and see where it takes you. These are the beliefs that are running the show, running the stress, running the anxiety, they are NOT reality, and remember to breathe.

Truly see what it is that HAS to be done (like paying a bill on time), vs. “can wait” like getting groceries. See where you are putting un-needed pressure on yourself. Notice the perfectionist in you, and know that you don’t have to be “perfect” (the cultural definition of perfect, or your definition of perfect). Remember that you are human, remember to take care of yourself, and remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH!

Categories: Inner Wisdom & Intuition

About the Author: Angela Patnode

My passion, my calling, is for you to be totally you. Through private coaching, in-depth retreats, and online group coaching programs, I help you tap into your intuition and clarify your desires and vision, I guide you to take active steps toward making your desires a reality.

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