To the perfectionist, “good enough” sounds way too similar to “failure”. Despite rationally knowing they aren’t the same, the perfectionist’s brain can’t help but feel like anything less than the best is simply unacceptable.
On the one hand, you’re fed up with your inner critic who keeps telling you that things are not good enough yet. And you’re tired of the relentless chatter in your brain that points out your shortcomings every chance it gets. It’s hurting you to feel so beat down all the time.
Yet on the other hand, you’re afraid to lose that inner critic because you fear you’ll never improve if you’re not hard on yourself. It would feel like you’re just letting yourself off the hook for mistakes, leading to a life of stagnation and complacency rather than one of success and vitality.
You’ve probably recognized though that this critic is never satisfied. It never relents. And that there’s no level of perfection you could possibly reach to ever make it proud of you. (Sure, sometimes it can be really proud of you, but give it enough time before it picks you apart again.)
Perfectionism is sneaky in that, while it appears to be all about forward momentum and progress in life, what it's actually about is avoidance. It's about avoiding failure. Avoiding pain. Avoiding the fear of the unknown. And avoiding that sinking feeling inside that says, "I'm not good enough."
In therapy, we'll focus on:
+ Curiosity and Exploration
In our work together, we will explore the origin of this inner critic, and start to find out what feelings you’re avoiding, and how it is you came to believe that you’re only good enough if you’re perfect. By understanding where this comes from, we can better see what your perfectionism is needing from you. You’re suffering right now, and it’s time to explore more useful ways of getting your needs met than just relying on your current method of trying to be perfect.
By practicing mindful awareness (which just means paying attention on purpose), you can start to recognize when your perfectionist tendencies are flaring up and then make the choice to not get wrapped up in its game. Mindfulness is all about noticing what’s going on, pausing, and making a conscious choice about how you want to proceed in that moment.
Your inner critic is the hub of perfectionism. We will respectfully hear what your inner critic is trying to tell you, but then let it know that there’s a new way you’re planning on talking to yourself – a more loving and encouraging way. Self-compassion is one of the most powerful skills we can develop in order to lead a happier life, and we will work on that together in therapy.
Contact me today to see how our work together can help you overcome the obstacles you're facing.
Callye Lawrence | Psychotherapist