Exceeding our expectations

Are we doomed to fail

We tend to expect perfection from every situation in this day and age, and nothing else will do. But the key to getting off the perfection roller coaster is to unchain yourself from the shackles of expectation completely. Sometimes the very idea of lowering expectations can be a trigger for a perfectionist, believing that anything less than perfection is judged a failure.

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Perfectionism is a scourge upon humanity that convinces you that you’re never good enough, no matter how much effort you put into things. You’d think we would avoid this kind of thinking just because it’s so much work, but in truth, we’re raised to believe that if you can’t do something right, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it at all.

However, ‘perfect’ does not exist, so if we seek something unattainable, then there will always be a disappointment when it is not achieved. So often, an expectation of how something ‘should be’ can ruin what could be a joyous occasion. 

If we can work towards accepting that life is not scripted, that it’s often messy, and the intention is more important than the outcome - then life would be so much more manageable.

Perfectionist tendencies can lead us to become very harsh and judgmental, especially toward ourselves. When you’re ready to embrace imperfection, this is the first thing you need to tackle.

Seeking approval

Stop seeking approval from someone (a parent, boss, child or a social media following) that is not forthcoming will always be a fruitless exercise. If you have to force approval out of someone who is not genuine, will that make you happy?

Ultimately, you have control over your own thoughts, so if you choose to feel inadequate, you will believe you are inferior; if you choose to think that your actions are valid, celebrating all the micro wins along the way will feel comforting and help you sleep better at night.

Seeking constant approval is dangerous. Throw caution to the wind and let it go; you are brilliant just as you are, regardless of others’ approval. Pleasing only yourself will be liberating.

Show empathy

If you feel someone has fallen short of your standards, then review why that might be. Ask yourself, what are they going through? 

What’s happening in their lives? 

Why am I putting so much emphasis on someone else’s work, achievements or lack thereof?

Give others a break. 

Try to put yourself in their shoes and imagine that they might be suffering. Always try to be kind to your reflection.

Start with Kindness

Perfectionist tendencies can lead us to become very harsh and judgmental, especially toward ourselves. When you’re ready to embrace imperfection, this is the first thing you need to tackle.

Drop the Mask Socially

Perfectionists tend to hide who they are, meaning their circle of friends sees someone wearing a mask instead of being the real deal. While it’s normal to want to appear your best, this can lead to many surface friendships and false expectations on the part of those around you. 

These kinds of shallow relationships also tend to be exhausting as you always have to play a particular persona when you’re with them. When you embrace imperfection, you show the world your authentic self.

Discard the stigma

It’s not uncommon to interpret a parent’s or caregiver’s failures as the reason for one’s own anxiety or behaviours. These feelings are valid and need to be worked on between parties. 

Break free from past transgressions, personality traits or actions and rid yourself of other people’s labels to become your own version of yourself. It’s all too easy to use previous responses towards us as an excuse for our own current actions or behaviour.

In your mind’s eye, take off the heavy cloak. Now you can become the ultimate version of yourself. The life of imperfection is one of authenticity and honesty.

Indeed, there is nothing quite so liberating as being able to be yourself, warts, and all.

Tony

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