Wednesday, March 22, 2017

BEING A PERFECTIONIST

Is "perfectionist" a dirty word?

I used say, "I'm a perfectionist," like it was a badge of honor.  But as I get older I'm noticing the times when perfectionism is a positive attribute and times when it's not.


Best qualities of a perfectionist: 

YOU GIVE EVERYTHING YOUR ALL
If you're a perfectionist, then you probably never turn in a project or assignment half-assed.  You give everything your best effort, and you're usually rewarded for it.


YOU NEVER SETTLE
You have high standards to yourself, and you never accept anything less.  If given a choice between something hard and something easy, you will always take the harder way even if it takes you longer.


YOU HAVE A STRONG WORK ETHIC
No one has to tell you to get the job done - you're already on it.  You are willing to put in the hours to do the work right, and you're happy while you do it.



Worst qualities of a perfectionist:

YOU'RE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY
Perfectionist are WAYYYYY too hard on themselves.  Comparing yourself to others is something you do automatically, even when you know you shouldn't.  You also hold impossible standards for yourself.  Even though trying to be your best self is positive, trying to achieve "perfection" is not.


YOU FORGET TO CELEBRATE THE LITTLE WINS
You're so focused on your big goal, that you forget to pat yourself on the back when you reach a small goal.  This makes the journey of reaching a long term goal even more difficult because the satisfaction of achieving something is prolonged. 

YOU'RE ALWAYS WAITING FOR A GOLD STAR
In grade school, your teacher would give you a gold star for getting an A on a quiz.  As an adult, your day-to-day work can go unnoticed.  It is frustrating when your boss or someone else doesn't acknowledge your hard work or achievements, and it makes it difficult for you to stay motivated. 



So how can you help these negative traits?  Here are a couple of things that are working for me.

BECOME AWARE OF YOUR NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Acknowledge it whenever you think or say something negative about yourself.  If you become aware of it then you will probably be shocked with how many times a day you have these thoughts.  Once you are aware, take the next step and start saying three things that you like about yourself for every negative thought.  
Also - stop giving self-deprecating responses when someone gives you a compliment.  If someone says "your hair looks nice."  Don't say, "ugh!  I hate my hair."  Make it simple and say, "thank you."  (This one is very hard for me!)

MAKE A HAPPY JAR
Get a mason jar, tie a ribbon around it, add some stickers - whatever you want! and make a Happy Jar.  Any time you have a little win or something just makes you happy, write it down on a slip of paper, and stick it into your jar.  In time, you'll visually be able to see all of your small accomplishments building up.  And if you're ever doubting yourself, you can open up the jar and read your wins for a little pick me up.  

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So is "perfectionist" a dirty word?  No, as long as you are in charge of your perfectionism and it is not in charge of you.

Please share in the comments below if you have any helpful tips for spinning your negative perfectionism qualities into positives!  I would love to hear them! 

x


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