Is Perfectionism a Form of Self-Sabotage?
I am not cured of perfectionism. I consider myself in recovery. I fall off the wagon from time to time, but my fall is disguised as overcorrection.
This article was first published on Coffee Times Medium. Reproduced with permission from the Author - Carmellita.
Perfectionism is a shield for many. It certainly was for me. I used it as a shield to cover my fears for many years.
Additionally, perfectionism is also a form of self-sabotage. Perfectionism creeps into our psyche when we aren’t conscious of our thought patterns and actions.
In true essence, the perfectionist is a self-saboteur and perfectionism is procrastination. It gives us a reason to continue to “wait” for the right time or the right amount of money or the right situation before we can move forward.
As a self-saboteur, the perfectionist will spend time and energy trying to make a thing so perfect that he or she destroys it.
While I am in recovery from perfectionism, I still fall off the wagon sometimes. And perfectionism slinks in as overcorrection.
Yes, perfectionism comes disguised as overcorrection.
In this state of mind, the perfectionist is still a self-saboteur. I’ve been in this state of mind more times than I’d like to admit.
Consequently, there are some practices we can implement in our lives to reduce the urge to overcorrect and slip back into perfectionism. These practices include…
✅Leave Well Enough Alone
One of the things I’m enjoying about graphic design is I have to learn to let go. I have to leave well enough alone. The same is true when I am writing on this platform. The more I try to achieve perfection, the more mistakes I make. Simple mistakes I don’t see. I don’t catch it until after I click “publish.”
Overcorrection can cause things to shift and move around in a way that doesn’t serve us. For instance, in an attempt to correct imperfections or flaws in your relationship, you may be too hard on your partner or spouse.
Pick apart your relationship long enough and you’ll watch yourself destroy it.
Similarly, in an attempt to correct a dissatisfactory career path or business venture, you may overcorrect by tossing one business venture or career to the side for another one you are sure will make you happy.
As you continuously tinker at yourself to correct your flaws and imperfections, you may become a person you don’t recognize.
Sometimes, you have to leave well enough alone.
✅Accept Where You Are and Who You Are
You will never know where you want to go if you don’t know where you are. Accepting where you are and who you are doesn’t mean you don’t have goals, achievements you want to actualize, or plans for the future.
It means you’ve become clear about who you are at this time and where you are in your life. You take a full inventory of your life and that stuff that no longer serves you — you toss it out.
This makes room in your life for those things you treasure the most.
✅Remove the Mask And Live Authentically
Yes, to fully accept who we are, we have to remove the mask. You know the one…
…that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,— Paul Laurence Dunbar, “We Wear the Mask.”
It also cracks. You can only wear it for so long before the real you rise to the surface, and usually at the most inopportune moments. The moments when you really believe your facade is more appealing than your true self.
To live from an authentic place, we can leave the mask behind. Authenticity doesn’t require perfection.
✅Allow Universal Love to Create a Safe World For You
Yes, I know it sounds hippy, a safe world created by universal love. No, I’m not smoking the wacky tobacky.
There exists a universal love that abides in peace and harmony. In my fundamental Christian background, we called it the Holy Spirit. Some call it the Oneness Blessing. We have so many names.
Now, I understand this love and comfort to be an energy that moves throughout the cosmos orchestrating life beautifully. It is the only perfection. It is the elegance Astrophysicist see happening throughout the cosmos.
“An angel, robed in spotless white,
Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.” — Paul Laurence Dunbar, “Dawn”
When we are tuned into it, we don’t feel the urge to strive for perfection or the urge to overcorrect what we may perceive as the wrongs, flaws, and imperfections in our lives.
Instead, when I accept Universal love into my life, I feel attuned to something higher, greater, powerful.
That’s because the more we know we are loved, the more we know we have the entire universe (I’d say multiverse) conspiring with us to create the life we want to live — the more we believe in good.
And when we believe in good, we live in beauty. It doesn’t get more perfect than that.
“But still, with faith unfaltering, I live and laugh and love and sing.” — Paul Laurence Dunbar, “A Poet and His Song”
Fam, I’m curious. Have you ever dealt with perfectionism? Do you find yourself overcorrecting when you think things have gone wrong in your life?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.