Carrying on from my Tibetan Monk post, I want to say a bit more about acceptance because it is such an important element of overcoming perfectionism.
As I’ve said previously, the thing about perfectionism is that it makes you want to be something or someone else. It makes you feel like you are not ‘good enough’ as you are. You are constantly striving to become a ‘better person’ because only then will you be worthy of love and respect.
But the only way to find real happiness is to start with who you are now, and accept yourself with all your imperfections. Obviously that is easier said than done – and it’s even difficult to say, especially out loud. I definitely struggle sometimes with accepting the concept myself. ‘But I don’t want to be like this so why should I accept it?’ (Because it causes you so much pain and unhappiness, Thea, that’s why!) I often use the subtitle of Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection as a reminder, because she phrases it in a way that makes sense to me, even when I’m in perfectionist mode.
“Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are.”
It reminds me when I put pressure on myself to do and achieve too much, and when I beat myself up for not achieving it, that I am trying to be the perfect person I think I’m supposed to be, rather than the wonderful, but imperfect, person that I already am. (I even find that difficult to write that last bit down in black and white, which shows that I’ve still got a way to go before I believe it completely.)
Think about what is really happening when you don’t accept yourself and don’t believe you are enough. You are rejecting yourself. And if you reject yourself (by rejecting your successes, your failures and your negative emotions) then essentially you are rejecting reality. And you know what we call people who reject reality….