Sorry it’s been a while since my last post! But I’ve come to a crossroads in my life, and have been doing some soul searching in order to learn and grow.
I’ve learned that my anxiety is greatly driven by my ‘perfectionism’.
So… in true perfectionistic form (🤦🏻♀️) I have been researching this character trait with great gusto!
Along my searching travels, I came across a free self help course, written and developed by psychologists! There are nine modules, and I have completed three of them to understand: What is Perfectionism?, Why Am I a Perfectionist?, and What is Driving My Perfectionism?
I thought of a lot of different people whilst beginning my research 🤔 so thought it might be helpful to share some of the knowledge I have been reading up on. In later modules, it will talk about how to challenge perfectionism and so on…. but what I have learned so far, I think could ring true to many. 🙏🏻
(Please note this is just my interpretation of some studies I have undertaken, and I am in no way a medical professional. I am not qualified to nor intend to medically treat anyone).
There’s many areas in life in which we can all strive for ‘perfection’, whether it be; health/fitness, cleanliness, organisation, performance, presentation, pleasing others, etc. And I think it is entirely normal to want to strive for excellence. But this can become an issue when we set massively high standards for ourselves, that can be unachievable, (or only achieved at a great personal loss).
I have set a standard for myself to have ‘perfect experiences in every situation, every time’. For example; if I go on a family outing everyone must have the best time or I have failed, or, if I get anxious when I’m somewhere I will be seen as not normal, or, if I miss an appointment I will be seen as a bad parent.
Why do I think this way? 🧐
From what I’ve learned, we live in a world where it is very acceptable to want to achieve high standards, and our upbringing can also condition us to think this way… (not blaming you Mum and Dad! 😉). Even the seemingly harmless act of giving a child a reward for achieving a high grade, can develop perfectionistic thinking such as “If I don’t achieve high grades in every subject, I have failed”.
A great personal loss might be that you miss out on time with your family because you are placing too much importance on providing for them. 💰
I won’t go into too much detail about this topic because I may be incorrect, but I certainly think it wouldn’t hurt to read up about it yourself, if you are beating yourself up over not achieving your own self set standards.
For a good year, I was so afraid of feeling anxious wherever I would go, so I gave up before even trying… and didn’t try. This unhealthy behaviour was driven by my unhelpful thinking.
I was not happy. 😞
Others around me, were not happy. 😞
Then my life changed…
So far on my journey, I have learned a lot of things! And I am getting so excited about the potential to learn more! 🙌🏻😁 One thing I am learning, is that you will NEVER achieve growth and happiness if you don’t put in the effort to change. Change is scary. But not as scary as the alternative!
So…. I have begun to try.
I have a habit of ‘catastrophising’ situations even before they have happened, and this results in getting anxiety about things that should, in the most part, be a normal part of life, and even enjoyable! I have a habit of filtering my thoughts info ‘focusing on the negative’ instead of thinking that things might actually turn out positive. 😁
I’m learning to challenge this habitual way of thinking.
I never used to venture to the shops, for example, for fear that I would have a panic attack and not get what I wanted/needed. This would feel like I had failed, and I would consequently be in a very low mood… 😞
I am still not loving going to the shops and spending hours and hours in there browsing, having coffee, wandering around, etc. But I am going! Today, I set myself a goal to buy a birthday present for my daughters friend. And if all went well with that, I might get myself some new pillows for the bed.
I went. I felt the anxiety and nausea that comes along with it…. but I pushed through. I went straight to the toy section, got the ‘That’ll do’ item and proceeded to head for the checkouts.
But then I stopped….
I looked around and thought “Okay, so I’ve achieved my goal… could I do something else while I’m here?”. 🤔
Later at the checkout, I scanned my items and left. When I got home, I unpacked my items; the birthday gift, wrapping paper, a card, another gift for my children, new pillows, a block of chocolate 🍫 AND a pair of new jeans from another store! 🙌🏻😁
I was only at the shops for roughly 45 minutes, but I feel GREAT! Because I tried! 💪🏻
I know that I will probably always have times where I feel anxiety, or unwell, or in pain or whatever the case may be, but it does not mean life has to stop!
I will however stop there…. but stay tuned for more if this has sparked an interest in you, as I make my way through this self help study. Feel free to also contact me to discuss ways in which you may be setting yourself impossible standards?
Stay well 🙏🏻