Overcoming Toxic Perfectionism

You can live your life or be paralyzed by the fear of not being perfect.

Rachel Van Wickle, TLMFT

Rachel Van Wickle, TLMFT

Rachel has experience working with teens, individual adults, couples, and families. She helps people navigate managing depression, anxiety, mental health diagnoses, communication, and relational problems. Her work includes a specialized focus helping medical professionals and their families, as well as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS).

We cannot overcome the challenge of perfectionism while suffering silently from the debilitating symptoms of mental illness. Take care of your mental health!

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Please note, the information in this post is not a replacement for personal medical advice.

Perfectionism can take us from being an active player in our lives, to being frozen by the fear of not being absolutely perfect. If you have a tendency toward perfectionism — and have felt held back by the worry of not doing something perfectly — this video is for you!

One of the most important tips I can offer you is to take care of your mental health. Perfectionism is a common negative thought process, but it can also be prevalent in mental illnesses. If you are experiencing symptoms — take care of your mental health first! 

Working to combat perfectionistic thinking will require you to feel energized and ready to work. Meaning, you need the proper support in place. If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of challenging perfectionistic thoughts because you are suffering silently from the effects of anxiety, depression, or any other mental illnesses, please reach out.

Dream big.

Brene Brown, a leader in the mental health field, once said, “Somewhere along the way, we adopt this dangerous and debilitating belief system: I am what I accomplish and how well I accomplish it… Healthy striving is self-focused — How can I improve? Perfectionism is other-focused — What will they think?”

I hope that, regardless of your current stage of life, your dreams and aspirations are big. I hope they make you excited and maybe even a little nervous. You CAN fight against toxic perfectionism and still be high achieving. In fact, I believe it is necessary to fight against perfectionism in order to be high achieving! 

Here are some examples of how to be high achieving, without suffering from perfectionistic thinking:

  • Look for areas of your life that bring you joy and confidence and create achievable goals to help you strive in those areas. Choose one actionable goal and make a promise to yourself to achieve it.
  • Identify your strengths and write them down. Look for ways to actively use your strengths to improve your life and the lives of others.
  • Take risks! Perfectionism and self doubt keep us in our comfort zones, which doesn’t allow for personal growth. Look for small challenges to help you grow. Anticipate roadblocks and expect that you will need to practice the trait of resiliency: being able to get back up after experiencing failure.
  • Choose or create some favorite affirmations or inspiring quotes and put them somewhere you will see them regularly. Read them out loud when you need a boost of motivation.

There are a million ways to strive for self-improvement. Just remember in whatever method you choose, “perfect is the enemy of good.” Take care and have a perfectly imperfect day!

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