YOU COULD SAY I’M A PERFECTIONIST
5 ways to let go of harmful perfectionist tendencies
Tough as it is to admit it, that thing you say as a fake “flaw” in job interviews - is actually a proper, legitimate issue. And it is slowly going to drive you nuts. Whether it gets you the job or not.
Defined by UCL’s Roz Shafran in her book Overcoming Perfection as;
“The setting of, and striving to meet very demanding standards that are self-imposed and relentlessly pursued despite this causing problems. It involves basing your self-worth almost exclusively on how well these high standards are pursued and achieved."
Perfection is the pursuit of more. It’s achievement without satisfaction, races with no finish lines, the constant search for bigger, better, and brighter. An expectation you set for yourself that you’d never expect of anyone else in your life.
Pursuit of perfection = fear
When you live in fear of making a mistake, you’re putting yourself through a load of stress, which in turn means you don’t make the best decisions and it puts your body through a helluva time too. You’re also putting yourself at risk of burnout, guilt and exhaustion.
So we can all agree that perfectionist tendencies are best avoided. But, when it’s something that can be so ingrained in your personality - how do you retrain your brain to let it go?
5 ways to regain control of perfectionism
Believe you’re enough
You mindset is made up of your views on life . So building a mindset from beliefs based in fantasy is always going to be hard to create. Try to change your mindset to reflect realistic expectations, that you are more than good enough to be a part of.
Giving yourself a hard time isn’t going to help anything. So have a think about the standard you are holding yourself to, and if you’d do that to anyone else. Telling yourself that you're never going to achieve something will make sure you never achieve it.
**that was a bit good wasn’t it? Maybe I should create a motivational meme… anyone here creative enough to make one for me?
Make your own damn decisions
Maybe (I hope), you remember this email from a couple of weeks ago about how to make a decision. Well, it helps with those perfectionist tendencies too. Making decisions for yourself is a good way to prove that you can trust you. There’s really no need to always get everyone else’s opinion, you know what you want to do - go for it.
Accepting where you are right now is a great way to stop fixating on where you need to be. So take a minute to appreciate and acknowledge where you are, and how far you’ve come.
Focus on progress
Recognising how far you’ve come, and acknowledging each step as you take it helps you take gain confidence and improves your self-worth. Knowing that every stage is just as important as another, will help you to give up the need to strive for perfection.
For more tips on how to tame your perfectionism, check out this Ted Talk from Thomas Curran.
FOR THE NERDY: How to sidestep the pursuit of perfection. [Source: Psychology Today]
Want More of This? Get Some Brain Food Every Week.
BRAIN FOOD - SUMMERY SALAD
This seasonal salad from dietitian, Sophie Medlin is a dream for soaking up the last weeks of summer. If you can block out the traffic noise from your window/balcony/garden and close your eyes, you could almost be in the med.
“This salad combines lots of brain-boosting nutrients. It’s delicious for lunch or supper and can be combined with crunchy bread or roasted new potatoes for a more substantial meal.”
Why is it good for my brain?
Essentially, every ingredient down to the black pepper seasoning is doing something excellent for your grey matter (Sophie is the bomb), but the major players are peaches, olive oil, and tomatoes. Peaches bring fibre, antioxidants and vitamin A to the mix, which can help with learning and memory; olive oil is perfect for getting those all-important healthy fats and antioxidants into your life; and tomatoes, among other things, contain lycopene, which is known to protect against cognitive decline.
What you’ll need: 4 handfuls of mixed salad leaves (like baby spinach or lambs lettuce), 1 avocado, 8 cherry tomatoes, 2 peaches, 1 ball of mozzarella or burrata, handful chopped walnuts, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, black pepper. Optional: A few slices of parma ham
Cooking time: 15 min
Arrange the salad leaves, avocado and cherry tomatoes.
Cut the peach into 8ths and roast in a hot pan brushed with a little olive oil until they are slightly browned
Once they are coloured, take them out of the pan and add the chopped walnuts. Toast the walnuts in the peach juices until you can start to smell their oils being released.
Place your mozzarella or burrata in the centre and of the plate and arrange with the peach slices and toasted nuts.
Drizzle with good quality olive oil and a little balsamic vinegar.
Season with salt and black pepper.
WHAT WE LOVE THIS WEEK
Watch: Level-up your practice game and understand how your brain processes and perfects activities with this handy TedEd video. [youtube]
Read: Wait, facebook isn’t damaging to mental health now? After this total curveball from neuroscience news… maybe I should reinstate my account? [neuroscience news]
Listen: A super interesting listen from hypnotherapist Paul Thomas, about how to harness the power of your reticular activating system - the gatekeeper of your brain that fields important info from your senses - to bring the right info, people and situations into your life to achieve your goals. [spotify]
Follow: the.brain.dietician. a.k.a. Casey Farlow - a dietician that specializes in holistic brain health.
I talk a lot about things that are good for the brain and high on that list is “digital hygiene” which includes the classic digital detox. Well, I’m currently on one - at Burning Man in the Nevada desert, which is an extreme way to switch off but there’s no reception. So, it’s 10 days of no choice but to be present and in the moment - because I struggle with all that as much as the next person.
What’s important, in my experience, is to make space in your life to do it every year (or however often you can) - no matter how simple or extreme the way. My Co Founder Joel, for example, is going to Portugal for a week on the beach, and will just turn his phone off the whole time! Long story short - ‘you do you’ - but make sure you take time away from the digital world, one way or another.
See you next week
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