We all have some moments of self-condemning thoughts, but some of us reside there more than others. If we air on the side of perfectionism, it can literally keep us bound up in either being hard on ourselves or critical of others. That critical spirit can raise its ugly head and keep you in a state of discouragement that you can never measure up.
Who are we trying to prove ourselves to? Or are we never measuring up to a standard we have in our heads? Or are we discouraged about not meeting other’s expectations? Most likely it’s the expectation we have of standards we have of ourselves. The constant beratement can literally leave us bound in a spiral of never affirming the person God has created us to be.
I love Brene` Brown’s book titled the Gift of Imperfection. What a great title! I believe we can see our imperfections as gifts. A gift that we share with others of how they can see us as someone they can relate to. If we were perfect all of the time, they may not view us as very approachable. They may also not sense we are someone that has ever struggled and navigated through the hard territory. People may seek us out to help them get through a difficulty that you have experienced.
I have opportunities it seems every day to see my imperfections. I take classes with an art instructor that is very talented along with others I feel are further along in their development. It’s easy some days to walk away feeling like I haven’t been able to perform up to the talent I see in others. What I have failed to remember is that there is beauty with all of the pictures because it’s an expression from you. And YOUR expression is enough!! Granted some are better than others, but you don’t have to put a measuring stick on what you do.
- We may beat up on ourselves over mistakes that have minimal consequences. For instance, I recently overlooked the deadline for paying my taxes. They are always paid directly to the county. I called them and they indicated they had waived the delinquent charge for this second half of the taxes, but I had paid the delinquent charge for the first payment. I could have had good reason to beat up on myself for having to pay that charge, but decided to give myself some slack this time. My husband and I discussed a system of putting it on the calendar to remind us the next time.
Tip: Save your energy and give yourself some slack for the small mistakes you make that have less expense involved.
- Another area that tends to come up is when something goes wrong interpersonally, you see it as your fault. For instant is a teammate or family member doesn’t follow through with something, you take too much responsibility and think I should have reminded them.
Tip: Recognize the middle ground between taking too much responsibility and taking too little. If you currently take 100 percent of the responsibility when things go wrong, self-experiment with taking 50 percent and proceed from there. Ask yourself in every situation, what is the most helpful level of responsibility to take?
By taking less responsibility, you may allow room for others to take on more, thus reduce the possibility of this occurring again.
- Another way we take on too much responsibility is to get stuck in the paralysis of analysis. Do you find yourself always feeling like we have to double-check our work 5 times before we can send it? Or do we get stuck with never getting started because it won’t be done perfectly? Many I feel find themselves procrastinating and not wanting to face their imperfections.
Tip: It’s better to take the risk than not doing it at all.
- Many times we see our life as a failure even though overall things look pretty good to others. They don’t see your insides that you are harshly judging yourself against. Do you need to focus and give yourself kudos for all the things you do right? For instance, you provide good meals for your family, or you pay your bills on time.
- You see all the dumb mistakes of others as understandable, but not your own. Everyone makes mistakes like leaving the top off of the blender or forgetting to lock your doors. When things like this happen, try saying to yourself what would you think toward someone else when they do similar things?
Practicing these strategies for ditching self-criticism will benefit you by creating more energy, less self-doubt, and not procrastinating. This will in turn create more productivity and better decisions as less energy is wasted emotionally.