Perfectionism is defined as the tendency to set extremely high standards for oneself that are unrealistic. Failure to meet these impossible standards is often met with distress, guilt and self-criticism. It is important to note that perfectionism goes beyond setting personal goals and striving for self-improvement. Rather, individuals with perfectionistic traits are likely to constantly judge themselves harshly and engage in “all or nothing” thinking where anything other than perfection is considered a failure (e.g. “either I exercise every day or I am a failure”).
For the most part, perfectionism and eating disorders go hand in hand, both fuelled by the belief that “I am not good enough”. For individuals with an eating disorder, perfectionism may be focused on weight, body shape, eating and exercise.
Tania Veronse is a prolific blogger who works tirelessly to improve women’s relationships with their bodies. Tania recently wrote an enlightening blog on perfectionism and how it can “show up” in our lives that we felt was important to share with our readers (see below). We also encourage you to take the time to check out some of Tania’s other blog posts at Seed of Freedom.
What is really important that we bring to awareness right now, is that our ‘Perfectionist’ usually shows up as –
Fear in disguise. Our ego running riot!
Our ‘Perfectionist’ shows up like this –
- Self criticism
- All or nothing; black or white thinking
- Always striving, achieving – but never ever enough
- Fear of making mistakes
- Harmful or avoidant behaviours like binge drinking, drugs, or binge eating
- Focus on concrete rules
- Low tolerance for ambiguity
- Control as a primary trait
- Constant anxiety
Yep she’s a doozey. She’s a doozey most of us need to continue shining a light on, because there’s a space our ‘Perfectionist’ likes to occupy and this is – stuck – leading us to a whole world of suffering and anxiety, due to a mind loaded with perfectionistic, fear-based thinking and behaviours that follow – like reaching for food, booze or whatever else is ones way to soothe the soul’s pain of – never ever feeling enough (*sadness in a bottle right there*).
This perfectionistic, fear-based thinking, is not us and is all learnt.
We learnt to strive, achieve and push to achieve more and better. Not anyone’s fault. It is what it is. But it’s a mindset that we can choose to heal and let go of too, so we can thrive in our true authentic selves once again.
Hold onto occupying our ‘Perfectionist’ and we live a very limited life, blocking ourselves from happiness, thriving, loving, laughing, freedom, peace and running around like the free-bird our soul yearns for us to unleash.
Our true authentic self – love – shows up as this –
- An optimalist attitude
- Flowing with life
- Keeps moving forward no matter what
- Lives in the grey zone (as opposed to black and white)
- Trusts she is exactly where she’s meant to be
- Intuition leads the way
- Falling down is ‘the way’ forward
- Pain is a gift to grow
- Embraces being an imperfect human
- Accepting of ‘what is’
- She’s flexible
Our true authentic self knows that she is enough –
in this moment,
as she flows through life, carrying around her basket of all the attributes above (her basket of love)
So if your ‘Perfectionist’ is driving you into a world of limitation, I invite you to challenge it right now, by reconnecting with who you truly are (hand on heart, close your eyes and connect with the limitless being of love that you are right now and have always been) and make a move towards all those truth-aligned attributes above, that your soul is yearning for you to choose. Repeat over and over, until your true self becomes your new way of being in the world.
So I leave you now with this beautiful quote, which presented in front of me this morning as I was clearing my space. No surprise, my ‘Perfectionist’ has been crippling me of late too. We are all in this together –
“I let go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go and the river brings you home – Joanne Harris.
Amen to that.
Love Tania xo
To find out more about Tania Veronese visit Seed Of Freedom. if you would like support on your recovery journey please contact us at BodyMatters Australasia to schedule an appointment to see one of our therapists.