The Perfectionist’s Dilemma

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Photo of Rubik's Cube, not quite completed

Being a perfectionist is a noble ideal, but be warned … it can feed your anxiety. Anxiety comes from too much stress, and too much stress can come from always seeking an unobtainable life.

A perfectionist wants everything to be perfect; their home has to be perfect; their job has to be done perfectly; their life has to be exactly as they want it to be. And of course, in one way, it’s good to strive for the best. You will never get the best results if you don’t strive for them.

The problem comes when we don’t get the perfect life we want … and, by the way … we rarely do. We may strive for everything to be just right, but there is always someone who spoils it (not out of malice, it’s just that they don’t have the same longing for perfection). Or maybe you run out of time or money to get it to the perfect state you want it to be in.

Imagine the couple preparing to get married. They want a perfect wedding. They spend months saving and planning, booking rooms, planning guest lists and all the other things that go to make a great wedding. It is already stressful, trying to get everything ready by a fixed deadline. And when the great day arrives, something goes wrong – maybe it rains during the formal photography session outside in the rose garden, or Uncle Jack turns up late and interrupts the wedding vows. The frustration just adds to the ever increasing stress levels. And the stress can lead to anxiety.

And so we have the perfectionist’s dilemma: Ever striving to achieve unobtainable perfection leads to stress, disappointment and anxiety, whereas making do with a lesser goal does not achieve what you really want.

The solution to the perfectionist’s dilemma is to accept the simple fact that:

Good enough is good enough.

You can still strive for perfection, but you need to accept that it will not always be achieved. And if you don’t achieve it, is what you have achieved good enough … good enough to work … good enough for you to be satisfied? When you can accept that it is good enough, life becomes calmer and you are less likely to become anxious.

If you struggle to control you anxiety and want help, you might want to see what hypnotherapy can do. I work from my clinic here in Fleet (or over Zoom if you live further away). Contact me when you need help getting you life back together.

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

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Tim Maude

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