How to let go of perfectionism - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 01-27-2011, 05:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I need to let go of perfectionism as is driving me insane. I have an all or nothing view of life that doesn't let me enjoy the good because it's not perfect. I tend to put myself down for this reason or that reson because I'm not in  my house is not perfect, therefore I'm not a good housekeeper/homemaker, I don't have it all figured out financially, I'm bad with money, when if I think hard about it, yes, the house is not perfect but most days is ok and far from a pigsty, no, I'm not a financial wizz but I do ok with money,etc, etc. The same apply to other areas of my life, friendships, relationship with my husband and kids, in-laws, buying shoes, booking a vacation, the list goes on.  Anyone can recommend a book that could help me out?


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#2 of 5 Old 01-27-2011, 09:46 AM
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I don't have any advice for you because I can be the same way.  Even when I get a 'perfect' (100%) grade on a paper I write for school I don't believe I deserve it - that the teacher grades easily, the teacher doesn't have high expectations, etc.


Hopefully someone adds some good advice.


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#3 of 5 Old 01-27-2011, 11:19 AM
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I'm never entirely sure if the things that help me can help others or not, but I've been reading a book that your post really brought to mind. It's called "Feeling Good - The New Mood Therapy" by David D. Burns, M.D. The reason your post made me think of it so much is that you used the phrase "all or nothing" about your way of thinking, and that's one of the ten things he really focuses on as causes of depression . . . or in this case "not feeling good". It has some specific recommendations about how to deal with thoughts that make us feel bad. I'm finding it pretty helpful and have noticed some positive changes in my thought patterns since I started trying to apply the strategies in the book. And they weren't temporary thought patterns, either, I've had them since I was a teenager. So I'm finding it really helpful. So is my father, and he's 70 and has had severe depression since he was a teenager. I imagine it would be helpful for you too!

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#4 of 5 Old 01-27-2011, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MissSJ View Post

Even when I get a 'perfect' (100%) grade on a paper I write for school I don't believe I deserve it - that the teacher grades easily, the teacher doesn't have high expectations, etc.

Did your parents tell you crap like that?


Mine did. Growing up, nothing I did was every good enough and it had a pretty serious hang over for me into adulthood.


Oddly, the thing that helped me start getting over this was, which is a house cleaning system. It's all based on doing little bits but doing them routinely, nothing is every perfect but nothing is ever trashed. It made a huge difference in my home, and made a difference in how I approached the rest of my life. It's weird.


Another thing that helped me was keeping a gratitude journal. Just writing down 5 things every day that I was grateful for, and sometimes they are things that I have done!  It's helped me become more positive.You can't be both grateful for something and considering how imperfect it is at the exact same moment. You gotta chose one, so if you make it a point to spend a couple of minutes every day just being grateful, those are a few minutes that you let go of the demand for perfection and accept (and rejoice in!) what is.


And I know I recommend this book all the time, but it is great for re-programming your self talk: You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. I need to check "feeling good,"  I've heard about that book several places now!


One of my affirmations is "I go beyond my parent's limitations." For me, perfectionism is a hang over from my parents, so this affirmation makes sense. 


*bejeweled* likes this.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#5 of 5 Old 02-06-2011, 01:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you both for the books recommendation. How sad that I have the two books in my home, but yet again, perfectionist that I am, I was looking for the 'perfect' book.


Linda, the gratitude journal is a very good idea, indeed, if I am grateful for something I can't fault it at the same time. A lot of my perfectionism comes from my parents too, where I never measured up, etc...Funny in a sad way that this negative talk comes from people that accomplished very little in their own lives. By comparison, I am far beyond them in many areas, yet I continue to put myself down and keep myself to their standards.


I tried flylady a while back but I could not keep up with the flood of emails. My house is 'perfect' for just a little while after I do a major cleaning/decluttering. Most of the times is ok and could be company ready in less than an that should be ok. But I have to come to accept that it's a house that is lived in and it's comfortable for all of us, kids making messes included. I have a friend who has my dream house in terms of how clean and orderly is, nicely decorated and all, but it's not a comfortable house to be in and she is stressed out to the max by cleaning all.the.time.


Also, something that I just recently discovered is that part of my perfectionism is that I want things resolved and I want them resolved right now...But in reality I procrastinate a lot because I can't make things perfect right now. Don't know if it makes sense, but it's a struggle and in the end, it's no fun.






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