You work hard, perform at your peak, put your heart and soul into all you do and yet there is a nagging voice that yammers, “You will never do enough, be enough or have enough to satisfy yourself or the people in your life.” It discourages you from taking risks or moving forward. This nattering naysayer tells you that you might as well throw in the towel.
What Is The Imposter Syndrome
Even those who are high achieving can experience what is known as imposter syndrome. According to Wikipedia: It is “a term coined in the 1970s by psychologists and researchers to informally describe people who are unable to internalize their accomplishments.”
Are You A Perfectionista
For this former Type A personality, who has downgraded to a Type B+ following a series of health crises, it is a familiar visitor that has to be shown the door often. It is not uncommon among those facing addictions who may believe that no matter what they do to further their recovery, it is not sufficient.
I have a persona that I refer to as ‘Perfectionista’. She looks down her nose at me and says “You should know better. Why didn’t you recognize and deal with the problem sooner? How do you expect to be viewed as an expert if you have flaws?” Chances are, what I am describing is familiar to you, although you may have a different name for that aspect of yourself.
How Do You Get This Way
How did Perfectionista get born? Unlike many who have extremely high standards, I didn’t grow up in a home with criticism; in fact quite the opposite. My parents and extended family were loving, supportive and responsive to my precocious strivings to explore the world, and I still enjoyed being a kid. I was never told that I wouldn’t achieve my dreams. I was praised and encouraged to do new things. They actually used the words, “Anything you do will be good enough.” Who hears that?
Reliable Doesn’t Mean Perfect
I learned to be reliable by having parents who were reliable. I can’t think of a time when I felt let down by them. If they said they were going to do something, they did it. They taught me about follow through. They showed me they could be counted on and modeled for me what that meant. Feeling like I am getting to the other side of it, being mindful of when I am allowing Perfectionista to run the show. Instead, I invite her to dance and sing along to Karen Drucker’s reminder called I Don’t Have To Be Perfect.
If we hold ourselves to unreasonably high standards, we become too inflexible and miss out on the full human experience.
5 Ways To Send Your Perfectionism on Permanent Vacation
1. Grow your self-compassion muscles and let yourself off the hook from time to time
2. Differentiate between excellence and striving for perfection.
3. Look at the people in your life who seem to be perfect and know that they too have vulnerabilities. Pedestals are for statues.
4. Have a response at the ready for those who, out of their own self-doubt have you questioning your worth. Ask them why they feel a need to put you down to elevate themselves.
5. Explore your strengths and successes by making a list of all you have accomplished over the years.
They can seem small and insignificant, however, there was a time when you didn’t know how to tie your shoes, write your name, read a book, ride a bicycle, or drive a car. Perhaps you graduated high school or college. You may have earned your GED. You could have your dream job and a thriving family. If you have some sober time under your belt, that is truly something to celebrate as well.
Here’s to being perfectly imperfect!
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Edie Weinstein
If you need help with perfectionism, relationships issues or addiction, click on the image below to find professional resources in your area.