How to change your perfectionistic thinking and make it work for your success

There is nothing good in understanding how a particular behavior affects your performance and appearance and “just leave with it”. If we don’t move forward we will never be able to neither change ourselves, others or situation we enter. But recognizing that change may be needed is the first step for achieving inner peace and real success from overcoming the perfectionism. If you want to achieve that you will need to first find motivators for yourself. Some of these motivators can come easily from the benefits of modifying perfectionism successfully.  Some of the very  strong benefits here can appear to you  as:

  • Less stress,
  • A higher level of relaxation
  • Increased creativity,
  • Readiness to take more risks
  • More opened and honest communication,
  • Improved relationships in both – work and home
  • Improved time efficiency
  • Increased job satisfaction
  • More openness to feedback and growth, etc.

Your thinking habits and attitudes influence every aspect of your life – your mood, emotional resilience, stress level,  performance relationship, etc.  But now you need to understand where do they all come from and how they affect your thinking and actions.

First, you  will need to  answer for yourself the question:

How does your belief develop?

You need to understand here that all your beliefs are reflection and generalization of the world. They are formed from all the things around you during your whole life.  They are formed based on your interactions with others like parents, brothers and sisters,  friends,  colleagues,  bosses, influencers, etc. The problem here is that when you are young and inexperienced you don’t have yet developed the ability to question others opinions on you and that leads to accepting them as truth. And then the perception you form of what is true forms as a deviation of what is actually true. That deviation forms irrational thinking.

Irrational  thinking

The limited from perception thinking an easily lead you to negative thoughts.  These thoughts are often bellowed the level of conscious thoughts and they can sweep over you so quickly that you are hardly aware of them. They create some type of internal dialogue, triggered when you enter specific situations.  These thoughts are also unhelpful, self-defeating and don’t step to security for you. They re somehow irrational and product of thinking distortions.

But here what you need to understand that it is not the thought itself that creates the problem, but what it means for you at all, or how you interpret it.

To lower the level of perfectionism here you will need to involve more relaxation for your standards and changing your perfectionism beliefs. That means to start questioning these standards, recognizing that they may not be hard facts and then starting to identify who from them are realistic and who is not.

That will lead you  to  the next step of:

Changing Thinking habits

Deep in yourself, you understand now that thoughts and feelings affect your behavior. So the first step is to become more aware of them and remind yourself you can change your mood by replacing them with more positive an encouraging thoughts and images. Ask yourself how is this thinking helping you 

  Perfectionists often think in a very demanding way about themselves, others and the world in general.  This happens because they see the world through the filters they have built and started criticizing its an imperfection. They have a lot of self-critical thoughts that are linked to their low self-esteem. But as one of them, you will need to accept that you can change that by start changing your thinking habits and that that is possible only after you challenge yourself.  To help  you  with that  I’m putting here short lit with  distortions you  can look  at in your thinking:   

  • Mind reading
  • Thinking in “all or nothing” terms
  • Expecting yourself and others to be perfect
  • Labeling yourself and others
  • Discounting positives
  • Fortune telling
  • Assuming you can’t do  anything to  change the situation
  • Concentrating on your weaknesses and ignoring your strengths

If you are a perfectionist you may have experienced one or several from those statements that have maybe led you to thinking irrational or in a distorted way. When you have identified this thinking habits your next step  is to

Modifying demanding thinking

If you have a rigid or demanding style of thinking this will add significant tension and stress to you and others.  To change that you  can try using some techniques to  help  you  move forward:

 – Thinking in terms if preferences – that can help you to be more flexible and realistic. Once you realize that  you  can’t change people, that you can’t demand them behave in a certain way it removes the burden from you and you feel  lighter

– Reframing  –  this is to try thinking about things from a different perspective. You must mentally stand back and ask yourself what is another and more rational way of viewing the current situation, or how might someone else view it.  That often helps you see things more clearly.

Then when you find yourself feeling unhappy you better take a moment look at what is really going on in your head. This will help you not only to see things from a different perspective but also help you to slow them down to be able to accept them.

 – Opposing images creation  – Another thing that may upset you are the images you have in your head and the effect they have on how you feel and behave. So,  when you feel down or anxious do the check of the images to understand where you really are at the moment. After doing that check you must create the images you want to see.  Try to think in terms of positive to ensure that you are moving into a new situation helping you to change and grow.

After you have reached that, you will need to focus on one last thing –  acceptance.

Accepting your Fallibility

You must understand and accept that because you are good at one thing and so good in another that doesn’t necessary means that you are worthless. As a perfectionist, you are constantly judging yourself, often against impossible standards. And often you do that unconsciously that makes it even more powerful. Bringing all those thoughts to the surface can be the key to winning the fight with perfectionism.  Learning to accept yourself and others is the most important lesson in life you must learn. You can either try to be perfect and end miserable or you can aim to be imperfect human, but feel empowered and enriched in your life.   

Are you ready to give it a try?


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