Hey there, it's Graham, and I want to talk to you about the problem of perfectionism and how to overcome it because perfectionism is a massive problem when it comes to undermining your self-confidence.
Now, how do I know this? Well, I know because I'm a recovering perfectionist myself and I know exactly how much damage this evil beast can do deep down in your subconscious and I've found some strategies that have helped me to overcome it and so I want to share them with you.
So firstly let's have a look at why perfectionism is so damaging to our self-confidence, and essentially the problem stems from a very early childhood type effect where we get the idea that we're only lovable if we're perfect. Now, naturally, we get a lot of reinforcement from getting things right when we're young. Growing up, going to school, we like to get things right. We like to be rewarded when we get things right, and over time we can develop the innate sense that unless we get things right all the time we're not going to be lovable. People will reject us, we won't get what we want in life and we're going to be unhappy.
So this can make perfectionism an extremely strong driver in the rest of our adult lives because we tend to take a lot of this stuff from our childhood straight into adulthood without ever even questioning it. And the irony about perfectionism is that it teaches us a story which not only is untrue but is in fact the complete opposite of the truth.
Because when we're walking out in the world going about our daily lives trying to be perfect all the time and we start interacting with other people, those other people have a lot of trouble relating to us if we're always putting on this perfection facade. We know inside that we've got a lot of our own stuff going on, and with perfectionism we tend to try to hide that from other people. And as a result, other people don't get to see our rougher side, our grittier side, our shadow side. Call it whatever you like. We don't ever expose it and therefore other people really can't relate to us.
So perfectionism is a massive problem and even just trying to maintain that facade that we try to project to the world so that we think people will like us lowers our energy, is completely counterproductive and undermines our self-esteem and self-confidence.
Okay, so that's all very well, Graham, but what do we do about it? Well, the first trick is to recognize that you are a perfectionist. As I said, I'm a recovering perfectionist. I know a lot about this stuff, and part of the deal for me is just to be able to admit that, yes, I like to get things right, I like to try to be perfect when in fact I'm not.
And so that leads to the second thing that you can do which is to drop this facade. Like, realize that the facade that you're projecting to the world to try to make people like you - well, firstly realize that's what you're doing, and secondly realize that it's completely counterproductive so that you can then start to drop it.
As I said before, people like to relate to us because they have something in common with us and when we are able to share part of our shadow side and the things about us that we are not as comfortable with, it actually makes it much easier for other people to empathize with us and to connect with us emotionally, which means that people end up loving us more.
So dropping the perfectionism will make you a more lovable person, make you more attractive and enable you to project more confidence because you're able to accept yourself, warts and all.
Probably one of the most difficult things that us perfectionists struggle with is our unpleasant emotions, and once again unpleasant emotions are something we all have in common that allow other people to connect with us and really relate to us deeply. So the key to overcoming perfectionism once you've acknowledged that you've got it going on is to start actually revealing some of those unpleasant emotions that you've been ashamed of up until now and let other people know exactly what's going on for you.
If you're sad, allow yourself to cry. Allow yourself to say, "I feel really sad." If you're angry with someone, allow yourself to say, "I'm angry with you." If you're upset about something, just be upset and let people know about it. Stop trying to present this facade to the world that you're emotionally invulnerable and that everything is sweet for you all the time when you know and they know that it's not.
The irony about perfectionism is that other people can always see through the facade that we're putting up and it's just a complete waste of time and energy. So start dropping your facade and notice your self-confidence building.