Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

How to stop being a perfectionist

Perfectionism compels us to work harder. If you go above and beyond what is required, it might be because you fear not being good enough. the fear of not being good enough is so threatening, that a perfectionist works tirelessly to seem perfect and be all things to all people.

Clearly, no one can keep this up, and a perfectionist sets themselves upon a weary path of anxiety, depression, and excessive stress.

It’s only through learning to do the OPPOSITE of what you have been doing that you will be able to free yourself of the ‘perfectionism virus’ and live a contented happier life.

REMEMBER – Perfectionism often stems from a past coping mechanism – such as an attempt to feel in control when you had no control. For example, if you had parents who were highly authoritative and didn’t allow you much freedom do make your own choices. Some people turn to creating order and structure as a way to feel in control. Others turn that control inward and develop eating disorders – at least they can still control what they put in their mouths.

These coping behaviours can help to self-soothe in the short term but in the long term, they create more problems than they solve.

Perfectionism creates anxiety and a need to peform perfectly in order to feel that failure is far away. perfectionists find failure really threatening and CBT helps to reframe the meaning of failure – it’s not true that the person is a failure. There is a BIG difference between a task failing and a person being labelled a failure. The association that is often made is inaccurate yet it creates a lot of stress and misery and self-loathing.

Learn self- acceptance


You are good enough


Perfectionists and their safety behaviours

Can’t say no, join every club, help others to their own detriment. keep a busy schedule, believing that doing nothing equates to being a loser.

Such faulty beliefs can only mix up a toxic and self-sabotaging concoction of further stress and not feeling good enough.


Only through dropping these safety behaviours can you learn what life is like when you accept yourself and to your relief you will find that others accept you as you are too – warts and all. Do behavioural experiments.

But if you never reality test, you will never know


What to do

Say no

try yoga to self regulate

drop the unnecessary tasks – rate each task out of 10, Under 4 – let go. get into the habit of dropping last two on list – you will find nothing bad happens.

Body in threat mode – expecting to be bust with no end in sight – need to be prepared. Body can’t switch off – exhausting over time. can lead to panic, headaches, IBS, fibromyalgia. Only so much body can take.

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