Feb 6, 2017
By Rebecca Aptekar, PsyD
When is the last time you hiked through a mountain meadow filled with wildflowers and said, “Oh, what a mess!” Wildflowers are beautiful precisely because they are imperfect, irregular, and unexpected.
Just as we accept what we see in nature, we can also practice accepting things as they are – without trying to make them perfect – in other parts of our lives. We can make room for imperfections and make the choice that things are “good enough” for the moment.
Perfectionism is about having unreasonably high expectations and approaching life with inflexibility. There are many costs to this mindset. It’s anxiety provoking, it creates interpersonal conflicts, and it leads to procrastination. You may have great intentions behind your perfectionism, such as getting a raise, standing out from your co-workers, or appearing competent.
But the problem isn’t with your intentions, it’s with the perfectionistic approach you use to achieve your goals. It may get you what you want sometimes, but the cost to you and your relationships can be enormous.
I tried to write the perfect sentence to end this blog, but I couldn’t. So instead, I just started writing the last paragraph. What if you could approach your life like this – by engaging with things just as they are, without unnecessary, rigid expectations?
Practice being okay with the potential disappointment, anxiety, and stress that comes when you fully engage with life. Accept the wildflowers.
If you’re suffering from your perfectionist mindset, Lyra can connect you to a therapist. If Lyra is offered by your employer, you can get started today. Sign up now.
DISCLAIMER: The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rebecca Aptekar, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in using acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and other evidence based therapies. At Lyra, she manages clinical programs, develops content for workshops, and conducts therapy for high-tech employees.