Super smart, intuitive, open to experimentation and committed to whole hearted living.
But there is one area in which many of them typically suck. Really suck.
They are all incredibly adept at kindness when it comes to others, but when it comes to themselves -ooh la la.
The higher the personal expectations of excellence, the harder they are on themselves.
So what’s the number one self care tip for perfectionists?
Deep down we know that being human rules out the possibility of achieving perfection in any life area.
Perfection does not exist. It’s an impossible target.
So why are so so damn mean to ourselves when we flub or fall?
Why do we let our perfectionism affect our attitude towards ourselves at such a deep level?
And more importantly – how do we get a handle on it?
By practicing self-compassion. Every day.
What this means
- By tuning into self-compassion, we are reminded that we are ok. We are doing our best. We are learning and being provided with opportunities to grow, every time we miss the mark or mess up. Self-kindness reminds us that we are all flawed beings, every single one of us and that’s ok – in fact that’s how we were designed!
- Self-compassion is the gentle voice of reason for perfectionists. It reminds us to let go a little. To go with the flow. To remember that it’s ok to have days where things slide, or don’t run according to plan. How many times have we proven that already?
- Practicing a little self-kindness means that we can give ourselves permission to fail and actually suck at something! How else are we supposed to get better at something if we don’t accept mistakes?
- Self-compassion has us focus on doing work that is excellent rather than perfect. When something is good enough – we can take a deep breath, remind ourselves that we have done enough and then let it go. Leave it, ship it, release it and see what happens.
- Compassionate self-care for perfectionists means keeping it in perspective – eg., “I didn’t finish that report for work tonight, like I was supposed to” becomes ”I’ve almost finished the report. All I have to do is give it a quick edit and print it out in the morning”.
- Actively practicing self-compassion helps us loosen the reins a little. To recognise when it’s time to do more and when it is time to stop pushing and take a break.
Whether you are a renowned, or occasional perfectionist, trying to be perfect is a means of protecting our vulnerability. A way of protecting ourselves from criticism, rejection and disapproval.
When we shine a light of self-compassion on our flaws, we can recognize, that despite all our perceived failings, we are actually ok.
Resources: If you want to learn more about the scientifically researched benefits of practicing self compassion and tips on how to develop this practice – you can go to Dr. Kristin Neff’s site