Perfectionism Damages Your Self-Esteem
Tuesday, December 2 2014 Fay Agathangelou
Perfectionism damages your self-esteem and it contributes to other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. If you have low self-esteem, the chances are that you have unrealistic expectations of yourself. Expectations may be in terms of anything such as appearance, body weight, relationships, achievements, money, work, education, talents, abilities, personality or state of mental health. You believe you’re not good enough if you're not perfect and that contributes to low self-worth.
Recognising Perfectionism As A Problem for Your Self-Esteem
Initially it can be hard to see perfection as a problem. You may believe that your expectations are reasonable; and perfectionism can easily be confused with aiming high. However, you can still have high standards without being perfect. A high standard is attainable whereas perfection is impossible. Perfectionism is a recipe for failure.
How To Get Over Perfectionism and Build Self-Esteem
Nobody is perfect and the challenge is to love your imperfect self. A healthy self-esteem is about embracing who you are and what you currently have.
- Accept that it’s okay to be imperfect. It’s part of being human.
- See the positives in your imperfection. Imperfections are what make us all special and they’re often our greatest assets. Think of all the people who made a difference to this world, such as historical figures, musicians, artists or celebrities. They made a difference by having something different to offer. Alternatively, artefacts in a museum are cracked or broken but that’s what makes them so valuable. Think of yourself in the same way.
- Remember that you’re a work in progress. You were born with nothing and have to learn everything you do. You first have to learn to crawl, eat, walk, talk and so on. It’s a lifelong process. How can you be perfect when you’re learning? Allow yourself to make mistakes; learn from them and keep on growing.
- Look past your current circumstances. You may be experiencing a mental health issue such depression or anxiety, or you may find yourself without the ideal job, relationship, or money. However, your value as a person does not depend on those things.
- See yourself as a whole person. Instead of focusing on your imperfections, get a more balanced picture. See your good qualities instead of being overly critical. It helps to express gratitude for what you have.
- Treat yourself as you would a good friend. Be kind to yourself.
- Challenge your thoughts. Replacing your negative thoughts with positive thoughts will transform your life.
- Get mental health help. As always, I highly recommend getting the professional help you need. Deeply ingrained thoughts can be hard to change and you don't have to do it alone. Getting help is a strength not a weakness and there’s no shame in doing so.
Being okay with imperfection does not mean you remain stationary. You never stop growing and your circumstances will change. Self-development is lifelong and there are always things to work on. Being imperfect is a normal part of being human. Love yourself as you are, imperfections and all. It is the key to a healthy self-esteem.