5 Ways to Stop Chasing Perfection and Be Happier

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Are you a perfectionist? If you are, you probably know how frustrating and exhausting the relentless pursuit of perfection can be. Unfortunately, a lot of people are perfectionists, and even some of those that aren’t, either envy or desire being perfect to some extent.

For their own reasons, many people strive to attain perfection in any of the various aspects of their life, whether physically, in careers, or at home. From wishing they had ‘perfect’ bodies like the models they see on Instagram to wanting to be perfect in their chosen career or even wanting their relationship to be perfect so that it can be labeled #relationshipgoals.

Chasing perfection can be very frustrating because even when you do somehow manage to reach some semblance of it, due to the concept of regression to the mean, perfection rarely lasts. It is like you are in a race that never ends, going in circles or chasing your own tail.

Society’s standards of what is considered perfect in the various aspects of life often change as well. Just when you think you have it all figured out, something or someone bigger and better comes along, ruining your entire plan and making you feel the pressure to be perfect again.

Unfortunately, being a perfectionist can affect your life negatively in many ways, including making you feel inadequate and dissatisfied with your life. It would, therefore, be good for you to realize the futility of pursuing perfection before it causes any harm to your personal and professional life.

If you are a perfectionist, this post will help you learn how to stop chasing perfection and become a happier person.

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How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Be Happier

  1. Be kinder to yourself

If you are always chasing perfection, inevitably, you will either lack a sense of self-worth or have low self-esteem.

You might develop a negative attitude towards yourself and consider yourself a failure for your inability to get to where you desire to be. This is made worse when you see other people achieve the things you wish you could and seem to be living a ‘perfect’ life.

As a perfectionist, you might feel like you are not enough or are not doing enough to get what you want. But by comparing yourself with others, criticizing yourself, or even being disappointed in yourself for not being perfect, you are being unfair to yourself.

Comparison will affect your happiness and sense of fulfillment in life.

If you want to learn how to stop chasing perfection and realize you are enough, you have to practice self-love and be more compassionate with yourself. 

Get rid of the negative thoughts and self-sabotaging behaviors by telling yourself nicer things through positive self-talk and affirmations.

You already have too many things working against you, and the relentless pursuit of perfection should not be one of them.                              

  1. Recognize your uniqueness

You are not like anyone else on earth, and you have a unique purpose only you can fulfill.

When chasing perfection, you could lose your authenticity because you are trying to fit into what someone else or society says is perfect – whether that is having the perfect body, the perfect family, the perfect job, or being the perfect person.

All these ‘perfect’ things are probably what other people made you believe to be so and that you should strive to have them. Hence, when learning how to stop chasing perfection, you have to recognize your uniqueness, be authentic, accept yourself for who you are, and stop trying to be like anyone else.

Define your success and what you consider the right path for you on your own terms instead of going along with what everyone else says.

It is your life, so live it in a way you will be proud of later.

READ ALSO: 6 Things That Happen When You Become Unapologetically Yourself

  1. Focus on your progress and what you have

Perfectionism is a dream and motivation killer.

Perhaps the only reason you think you are not good enough or like your life is not perfect is that you are comparing it to someone else’s whom you consider to have achieved perfection. It could be someone you know or just from the high expectations of other people.

Perfectionism and comparison are thieves of joy. Learn how to stop chasing perfection by focusing on yourself and your growth more instead of coveting what others have.

Realize that no matter what you do, there will always be someone who is better than you at something. So, develop an abundance mindset, practice gratitude, and be content with what you have or the pace of your progress.

Additionally, be happy for others when they achieve success and use that as motivation to improve yourself. So, instead of chasing perfection, keep working on becoming the best version of yourself you can be without sacrificing your happiness.

Remember to celebrate all your wins – whether small or big – along the journey of becoming your best self.

READ ALSO: 10 Reasons Why You Worry about What Others Think So Much (and How to Stop)

  1. Slow down

Since it rarely lasts, chasing perfection can feel like a race with no end. If you somehow manage to attain it, you will have to always be on the lookout and work even harder to maintain it so that something bigger and better doesn’t come along and make it less perfect.

As a perfectionist, you might feel anxious or like you can never take a deep breath or relax until you get something to be perfect. And this is no way to live.

If you have got yourself stuck in this rat race of life and want to learn how to stop chasing perfection, you will need to slow down, stop over-analyzing or overthinking things, and stop putting so much pressure on yourself.

Try meditation and breathing exercises to stay calm and focus on the present. You could also take time away from work, go on vacation, or relax and do nothing at home.

Spending time away from the things that drive you to pursue perfection will remind you what is important to you, recharge, change your perspective, and also help you connect with your inner self.

READ ALSO: 7 Types of Rest Everyone Needs (and How to Get Them)

  1. Do a social media detox

One of the reasons why people chase perfection so much is social media.

When you see posts of all these perfect people with perfect bodies, perfect families, and who seem to be living perfect lives, you might admire having all these things for yourself.

That is not all bad if their progress is motivating you to improve your life. The problem is when you view their achievements as perfection and want your life to be just as perfect.

What you probably don’t realize is that people only post what they want you to see, and that might not be how their lives really are.

Perfection doesn’t exist, and no one can have a perfect life in all aspects. Everyone goes through ups and downs, but they choose not to share that part of their lives.

Staying off social media not only helps you learn how to stop chasing perfection, but you will also have better mental health and enjoy the benefits of keeping your personal life private.

READ ALSO: The Effects of Social Media Use on Mental Health and How to Detox

Wrapping Up

Many people do themselves a lot of harm while in pursuit of perfection. Don’t be another victim of perfectionism.

Failures, mistakes, flaws, and struggles are all part of your life and they add value to it – whether that is through teaching you lessons or making you unique.

Use the above tips to learn how to stop chasing perfection and be happier with your life. YOU ARE ENOUGH!

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  1. As a recovering perfectionist, this post resonates deeply. I’ve learned over the years that, in fact, the concept perfect does not actually live in the world, and when we apply some of the strategies you’ve written about here, Sheri, into our lives, we can experience more peace, accepting life just as it is. Perfectly imperfect. A lovely post. ❤️

    1. Thank you so much for reading, Jeff!❤️ Being a perfectionist can rob you of your joy, and I am glad to hear that you are recovering from being one.

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