How Christian Counseling Can Help with Perfectionism
Christian Counselor Seattle
“I’m just trying to be perfect.” “When will I be good enough?” Have you found yourself saying these statements? Often people who struggle with perfectionist tendencies create unreachable standards for themselves. They may even take pride in these high standards. Yet the downfall of perfectionism is that it often creates standards that are not possible to reach. Failure to reach perfection can lead to frustration, disappointment, and low self-esteem.
We live in a world that is messy and more grey than black and white. Life is not like a crossword puzzle where there is only one answer for 16 Down. It might be easier if things were that clear, but trying to force that perspective on an imperfect world will only lead to feelings of failure and frustration. Often striving for perfection is used as a way to find control in an imperfect world. Mistakes happen and perfectionism doesn’t leave room for mistakes. If a person feels ashamed for making mistakes, it may be more difficult to learn from those mistakes and use that knowledge in the future. Perfectionism traps the person struggling with it and doesn’t allow for creativity and freedom. The following simple guidelines can go a long way toward liberating you from the bonds of perfectionist thoughts and obsessions.
Observe Your Perfectionistic Thoughts
The first step toward overcoming perfectionism is to spend some time paying attention to your thoughts and looking for perfectionist tendencies. Reflect on this question, “Are you expecting self perfection?” Do you feel like you are constantly not measuring up? Maybe this is because your standards for yourself are not realistic. One of the things to recognize about perfectionism is that the pressure you feel is coming from the inside and not the outside. No one around you is expecting you to be perfect. It’s important to note this so that you can empower yourself to gain a perspective shift.
Think About How You Define Yourself
Are you defining yourself based on your performance at work, at home, and in your relationships? Are you frequently wondering if you are good enough? Perfectionism doesn’t allow its’ prisoners to celebrate the little things that are accomplished because efforts are defined by all or nothing. Perfectionism can be paralyzing and hinder you from being able to move forward. If you can’t accomplish the task perfectly, why even try?
Set Reasonable Goals and Redefine Success
Those who struggle with perfectionism worry that if they let it go, the quality of their work will also slip. Instead, if the person is able to let go of the perfectionism and make small, measurable goals for their life, they will be able to see success, feel a sense of accomplishment, and have motivation to keep trying. Perfectionism is a difficult master to please and accepts only perfection. As a person starts to identify perfectionist thoughts, they can begin to replace those thoughts with more realistic thoughts. Examples of replacement thoughts include “I’m using my best effort in this assignment,” and “This is good work.”
God’s Will is True Perfection
Find hope in the truth of Romans 12:2 which says “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” In following God on a daily basis, we become more like Him and His perfection is developed in us. Apart from Him, we will never be enough and will continually be striving towards an unclear goal. God’s idea of perfection leads to true freedom away from the perfection that the world often tells us to strive for.
Christian Counseling for Perfectionism
If you struggle with perfectionist tendencies or are unsure if this is a struggle for you, Christian counseling is a great place to spend time paying attention to these thoughts that are contributing to your current situation. A Christian counselor will help you to see the truth of who you are and who God made you to be which is hard to see through the lens of perfectionism.
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