Why is it we expect perfection—from ourselves, from others, from life?
What’s that about?
As a recovering perfectionist who decided a few years ago to actively fight the controlling dis-ease of perfectionism, one of the most effective strategies I’ve adopted is planning ahead for slip-ups.
By “planning ahead” I mean:
- Expecting them—Slip-ups are going to happen.
- Anticipating them—Predicting and preparing for slip-ups to happen.
- Welcoming them (gulp!)—What if you knew getting to your goal necessarily meant there would be 3.8 slip-ups along the way? In that case, you’d welcome the slip-ups because they’re just part of the path to what you want.
In the early days of fighting against my very entrenched perfectionist mindset, I would actually wake up in the morning and say, I’m going to slip up today. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.
That might sound silly (or crazy), but it worked for me. Saying that to myself more times than I can count created a new groove in my brain: Slip-ups are just a fact of life. Just part of what is.
Not something to fight against at all costs—or at all. Not something to deny. Not something to wage war against self when they happen.
They just are. Like the sky or breathing.
Perfectionism, on the other hand, is a complete and total denial of what is.
Perfection doesn’t exist, so holding yourself to that standard and then beating yourself up when you fall short is a bit delusional, wouldn’t you say?
Rather than expecting perfection, what would change if you fully anticipated slip-ups? What would shift if you were to reframe slip-ups as pauses in your progress?