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The perfection trap? Wednesday August 27, 2014

Our low self-esteem is often driven by unhelpful thinking about the standards we should be able to reach in order to feel good about ourselves. In fact attempting to achieve everything perfectly is a recipe for setting ourselves up to fail.

Often this is a legacy of our childhood where our parents or teachers drove us to constantly do better. They felt that by constantly moving the goalposts we would try harder and achieve more. Often though the effect is for us to feel inadequate, thinking no matter what we do, it is never good enough.

I find it really helps to remember that this is faulty thinking. After all perfectionism is only a concept in our own minds. I try to accept myself as I am. Enjoy my imperfections and avoid the trap.

The Moodscope Team.

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Anonymous Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 2:50pm

Thank you Adrian. That legacy is me. A great reminder to expect less of ourselves.

I have ugly feet. I've always been uncomfortable with them. And yet there is nothing to be done! Today I went back to yoga (from which I have hid for over a year) and took my socks off. If I can accept my imperfections, others might too :-)
Love from the room above the garage.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 4:06pm

This is my ultimate trap.
Someone told me this saying the other day, which fits this subject and from now on I will try to remember it every time I did something which (to me) should have been better.
"Better is Good's worst enemy."
Good for you, Anonymous from the room above the garage, for going back into the world with bare feet! Keep it up and enjoy your socks off! ;-)

Anonymous Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 4:15pm

My perfection comes from myself. I perceive others to want it and/or expect it. I fear the negative response if wrong. Teachers mocking me, peers mocking me and doing something wrong at work so i get fired.
I mull over stuff forever which makes it worse so i suffer more to be perfect.
My parents gave me no reason to be perfect. They are terrific.Its all on myself. I am petrified to be imperfect.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 4:18pm

This is my problem. since childhood I was like that. It wasn't my parents fault. I guess I was born with it. Always wanted to be the best. Now I am in the therapy actually just started. Your blog reminded me that I should include that in my list- things I want to change.

Anonymous Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 4:28pm

Who knows anyone who is perfect? I don't and I suspect that if I did encounter perfection, it might be boring..

lel Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 6:18pm

I started school at age 4 - daughter of a teacher. An avid worker I always wanted to get 100% and have driven myself to exhaustion by demanding only the best from myself. Perhaps I thought I was better than other people by caring more or setting my standards too high. Oops I am the one who has come off worst!

Anonymous Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 6:18pm

Thank you :-)

Sarah Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 7:35pm

Perfection is a perception based on the past. It is merely an expectation that you place upon yourself. Therefore there is no such thing as perfection since everyone sees things from their own point of view. By changing your point of view and seeing everything in your world as perfect you can begin to change your energy and reach out for a better feeling life. ;o)

Anonymous Wed, Aug 27th 2014 @ 9:26pm

Thank you AGAIN !

Anonymous Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 9:15am

This is a really timely post for me as I have not been visiting the site for a while - I can never reach the standards I set myself, they are totally unreasonable, I know this, but somehow cannot deal with the feelings that this brings. Hopefully I start CBT in a few weeks to try and counter this and somehow bring myself some peace

Anonymous Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 10:21pm

I often find myself mired in thoughts of "if I do this...I have to do it THIS way." and then mulling over all the reasons why I come up short. Sometimes I have to get something done, then I feel a bit paralyzed thinking that I can't get everything done perfectly. Then my gut kicks in and I just "Get 'er done." Something done imperfectly ON TIME is still good enough. The best concept I ever read about on the internet was the "Good Enough Parent." Thank God my kids don't have to cure cancer in order for me to see myself as a good mother.

Anonymous Thu, Aug 28th 2014 @ 11:43pm

Thanks for your succinct and helpful message, Adrian. It is important to be motivated and to have goals but 'moving the goalposts' is damaging, particularly if you have perfectionistic tendencies. Pointless perfectionism is hard to live with.

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