Blog / Therapy Techniques - Misconception around Perfectionism

Therapy Techniques - Misconception around Perfectionism

15.02.2024 | iDare

Therapy Techniques  
As we learn more and more on mental health & well-being, it becomes important to be aware of certain tools and techniques that can be used in our daily life to take care of oneself. Since mental health includes our emotional & behavioural, social and cognitive well-being, it affects how we think, feel and act. While making healthy choices is something we always hear about a lot, it is helpful to be aware of what steps can be taken that can actually be beneficial for our well-being. While therapy is a professional space and is conducted by a trained person, knowing a few basic techniques that we can apply in our lives can surely be helpful.  iDare aims to create awareness on this.  
The Misconception around Perfectionism  
I often hear how glorified perfectionism is. People very often describe themselves as “Perfectionists” and may seem to be proud of it or media describes perfectionism as people doing everything flawlessly, never falling behind, never faltering once. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Perfectionism is usually a result of trauma, typically stemming from childhood experiences.  
Perfection is, of course, an impossible reality. The constant strive for perfection can have negative outcomes like avoidance, procrastination, all or nothing thinking, rigid comparisons, impacts on self-worth and self-esteem. This can also harm multiple areas of our lives. Personally, it had a great impact on my inter-personal relationships. When we are overly critical of ourselves or of other people around us, it can be very easy for relationships to start having problems. 
Perfection isn’t something to be glorified and be proud of. It is in fact something to be worked on. Usually, people who identify as perfectionists struggle with their self-worth and only see themselves as worthy when they do things immaculately. This, however, isn’t always possible and is not the standard we should hold ourselves to.  
What we may instead need to strive for is growth, improvements, learning and acceptance. Perfectionists tend to sometimes have very high expectations of those around them too. This is not an excuse to drop our standards rather to re-evaluate how many of them are realistic.  
Re-wiring thoughts 

Perfectionistic thoughts 

Healthy alternatives 

People are judging my efforts 

People judging me says nothing about me but them. It isn’t personal 

It all has to be perfect 

Focus on making it good enough and of value 

Once I start something, I have to follow through and succeed 

It is good and okay to experiment and then decide whether to commit or no 

I “have” to do it all 

Be assertive and assign tasks to other people too 

“My gifts have to be perfect so I will overspend” 

“I need to pay attention to prioritize my actions that make a difference instead of putting efforts that may not help” 

I “should” do this even if I do not want to 

Re-evaluate what and how much is worth doing and whether it really makes sense 

“If I eat one cookie, then my diet is ruined so I just finish the entire plate” 

“I will eat mindfully. I will eat one cookie and enjoy it and then stop” 

I cannot afford self-care, I have things to take care of 

“I will take a few minutes to relax before I get back to it” or “I will finish one task and take a little break and get to the other “ 

This does not make all perfectionistic thoughts go away. And do note that this may not show results if not practised consistently. All behaviours take time to change as it is a lasting change so continuing to be gentle and patient with ourselves while we are doing it is key. These above mentioned statements are things that we can see ourselves doing on a regular basis if not every day and may take time to change. It is also individualistic on how long it can take. But keep at it and slowly we see ourselves making progress.  
Please remember, these techniques are in no way a substitute to an actual therapy session. We would like to emphasize that if someone is struggling with their mental health and if it is affecting day to day life, it is imperative to consult a trained professional.  
If you or somebody you know needs any help to understand therapy techniques in depth or is stressed with issues related to mental health, consider reaching our ‘Support’ and ‘Engage’ verticals for affordable and inclusive help!     
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