Our mind health Q&A columnist Athena Lazarides is a qualified psychologist and the author of ‘You’ve Got This’. She’s on a mission to help you clarify your purpose so you can move onwards and upwards in life. You can see her work here.
Dealing with the Festive Madness
This time of year is really my favourite! I love everything about it. The fun, the lights, the malls, the celebration… I LOVE it all but I find myself really striving to get things done perfectly. The perfect gift, the perfect celebratory meals, pleasing my in-laws. The whole-shebang! This year in general has been hard for me and I am exhausted, so I want to get everything done perfectly but feel too tired to. What can you suggest that can help me push through? – Amy
My suggestion to you would be to stop this absolute glorification of busy! Why do things need to be perfect and what would happen if they weren’t? Would your in-laws like you less if they didn’t receive that perfect gift? If the answer to that question is ‘yes’, I would seriously start to reflect on the quality of your relationships. Radical wellbeing requires saying, ‘NO’! Say ‘no’ to perfectionism and ‘yes’ to authenticity. Type A’s can really have a hard time slowing down and asking for help- it’s time for you to do both. Who can you ask for help? The hook of perfection is that until you reach perfect you aren’t really worthy. The implicit notion is that if we are perfect we will automatically gain more love, freedom, acceptance and happiness in our lives. It’s a hard and unsatisfying belief to hold. We try to contort ourselves into these impossible images that we think we need to be. Striving for perfectionism will lock you in a perpetuating cycle which will ultimately cause more pain than well-being. In fact, psychologists, Paul L. Hewitt and Gordon L. Hewitt have proven, that striving for perfectionism is linked to depression, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, anxiety and lower self-esteem. So disconnect from this notion of having to be perfect.
6 Reminders to help you ditch striving for perfectionism!
1 Ask someone close to you for help.
2 Remind yourself that a gift/party is not a reflection of YOU.
3 Come to centre and ask yourself what it would mean for you if you didn’t have to project an image of perfection out to the world. When you start to love the ‘harder to love’ things about yourself, you automatically start to feel more relaxed and free.
4 Absolutely, under no circumstance, push through.
5 Prioritise radical wellbeing – you’re worth it.
6 Perfect doesn’t equate to fun…
The vulnerable bits of our stories are what make us unique and when we start to celebrate them perfectionism no longer has any power over us.