The Perfectionist’s Guide to 2022

I had an excellent holiday, but I can’t say it was perfect…you know what I mean, right? 

Life isn’t perfect, and, unfortunately, it is easy to feel disappointed when life doesn’t live up to our perfectionist expectations. It can be a challenging burden to carry. When a person, event, or experience comes up short, we can become frustrated, picking apart the failures of whatever it was that didn’t meet our ideals. We can be judgmental and angry. When we’re upset, we make others feel uncomfortable or even miserable. How do we change this vicious cycle?

Consider the alternative: Once you are able to break this cycle, you will feel the relief of not holding the things/events/people around you to impossible standards. When you surrender that grip on perfection, you allow yourself to find value and joy in the things outside your control. Take, for instance, the Serenity Prayer from Alcoholics Anonymous. This simple saying can be a helpful reflection when making an effort to break any unhealthy habits and do self-work. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” 

I think of myself as a perfectionist in remission. I constantly read books and take courses to reduce my perfectionism. I have to actively manage my behavior and push my perfectionist tendencies aside. When I catch myself going down the perfectionist path, I mentally call myself out. In my mind, I yell STOP! Then I take a beat. Identifying when my behavior is headed in the wrong direction is a good start. But now I have to get on the right path. It helps me to remember my mantra of “Good Enough.” I say it repeatedly to myself to let the stress and pressure of having to be perfect go. 

“Good Enough, Good Enough, Good Enough.” I accept people for who they are. 

“Good Enough, Good Enough, Good Enough.” 

I realize events never go 100% as I envision, and “Good Enough” is just that: “Good Enough.” 

How do I feel now… “Good Enough!

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Kim Martin