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Letting Go of Perfectionism

Updated: May 7, 2022

I'm a recovering perfectionist.

As a kid, my parents would tell me to study LESS and calm down about my schoolwork.

I'm not entirely sure how it started so early, but if I didn't get the "right" grades, I would feel immensely disappointed.

As a result, I've tended to equate my self-worth and self-esteem directly to my achievements and pushed harder.

I felt I was never pushing harder. It just felt like I NEEDED to do this or that. Otherwise, I would be a failure.

When the POTS symptoms got worse, I started "succeeding" less and less. At work, it was difficult to focus. I was exhausted, and the brain fog was quite bad. Although my coworkers knew my physical POTS symptoms, they did not know the cognitive effects.

I don't think I realized either how bad the brain fog and fatigue had gotten. I was blaming myself. So I would work nights and weekends to make up for my "slowness," but it was getting harder, and felt like I was failing in all areas of life.

Becoming aware of these thoughts patterns has helped a lot. Why was I equating my self-worth with my job achievement?

In my health recovery, I sabotaged myself by either "doing this correctly or not at all." I still fall into these black or white thought patterns. Now I can recognize when I see too many "shoulds" popping up or when I'm catastrophizing.

Having more self-compassion is the other biggest thing that has helped me. Why am I driving myself into the ground so much? No one is doing this to me but myself.

Sometimes I imagine what a friend or family member would say in this situation.

It's a work in progress, but I'm happy in the gray area, allowing mistakes and progressing forward with more kindness.

How has letting go of perfectionism served you? Let me know in the comments below.


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