Perfectionism was Overwhelming when I was working full time, studying part-time, and trying to run a household.
I felt miserable, and everyone suffered, my relationships, university marks, and health. My gut health was awful; I was not eating right; I won’t even go into the dreadful and embarrassing smells that could be emitted from my body, and it felt like I was constantly having my guts kicked. IBS is not pleasant to live with.
In those days, I did not understand the importance of gut health and its effect on your whole life. I thought I was bulletproof and could do everything and survive on junk food, and de-stressing was going out with the girlfriends for a wine.
Many think that high standards and pushing yourself to be the best you can be is the only way to succeed, but are those standards unachievable as you expect everything to be perfect?
Is the pressure too much, and you feel stressed and anxious, and then emotions and thoughts start swirling around the head, thinking you are not good enough because you can never get it right? Or maybe even procrastinate and not start because guess what – you know you can’t get it perfect.
When you think about Gut health, everyone automatically thinks about the foods they are eating, but gut health is equally or even more affected by our emotions and Stress.
Have you noticed that when you get worked up emotionally, you will get pains in the gut or feel these butterflies?
Then we turn to food for comfort when we are upset, which means our digestion is also interrupted.
If you talk to people who suffer from IBS, you will find they have one thing in common – they suffer anxiety stress, and Perfectionism can be one of the underlying beliefs limiting them.
A book by Julie Ross, The Mood Cure, talks about serotonin being low due to Perfectionism.
Serotonin is the natural mood stabilizer that controls wellbeing and happiness, and did you know that the gut makes serotonin?
Production of Ninety-five percent of the body’s serotonin by our Gut bacteria influences mood and digestive activity.
Guess what else lowers serotonin – yep, you guessed correct, Stress.
Do you tell yourself or others to stop trying to do things perfectly?
If you do, stop now as that won’t work because they will wonder how they can do that perfectly – and then stress about that – what a vicious cycle.
Trying to be perfect is just one way of showing how our emotions affect our gut health.
What can you do about it?
I will share four tips to help yourself stop trying to be perfect.
Firstly – are you aware that you put undue pressure on yourself with Perfectionism?
- Do people constantly comment that your standards are over the top?
- Are your standards so high you have trouble meeting them?
- Do you procrastinate because it is not just right?
Secondly – Can you shift your thinking?
Replace self-critical with more helpful, realistic statements.
You can make up your own, and to help, here are a few to get you started.
- I can only do my best
- Nobody is perfect
- I am imperfectly imperfect
- Making mistakes means I am human
- Making mistakes is an opportunity to learn what I can’t if I got it right 1st time
Thirdly – Is there a broader perspective?
Instead of getting overwhelmed and bogged down in details and spending time worrying
Here are some questions to ask yourself
- Is it that much of an issue if it is not perfect? This question allows you to decide if it is worth wasting your efforts trying to get it all perfect.
- List out the worst-case scenarios? – Thinking of the worst-case scenario allows you to see that getting it perfect is not the end of the world. If the worse that can happen is that you achieve something you have wanted, even if it is not perfect, then that is a positive
- What is the chance of survival if your worst-case scenarios happen? – quite often, the answer will be yes, you will survive, and in fact, the lesson you learn just by getting it done even if it is not perfect will be valuable
- In the scheme of things, Will this matter in a week? What about in a month? You can even look further ahead in time to a year.
Let’s play and do an exercise with the above four questions. Please close your eyes and imagine something you procrastinate on completing because it needs to be perfect.
See yourself in the future with the imperfect but working and finished product. Hear the congratulations and the relief because they have a product that works. It doesn’t matter that it isn’t perfect; did the worst happen? And isn’t it more satisfying having a finished product than the Stress of having unfinished things still hanging over your head?
Lastly – Can you look at things as though through someone else’s eyes?
Getting a different perspective may be hard for someone with Perfectionism, but taking a step back and seeing things from someone’s else view can help.
- Think how someone else might see the issue?
You can ask in Facebook groups or your friends and family and see what different answers you will get. You will be surprised by the different perspectives when you are willing to listen.
- Are there any alternatives to look at the situation?
Is there more than one way to skin a cat? as the saying goes? When you are open to hearing the different ways that a situation can be handled, you may surprise yourself with the various options available to you so you can decide if you are willing to adopt the problem differently
- If your best friend had the same perfectionism issue, what would you tell them?
It is incredible how we don’t listen to our advice, but when you think about the excellent advice you give your friends – if only we are willing to take that same advise
- What would the wisest person you know, who has your best interests at heart, say to you?
That intelligent person does not have to be a person you know. I had a session with a therapist, and when asked if my gut pain had a shape, what would it be? I saw Yoda, the wise and legendary Jedi Master from Star Wars. Imagine the advice I received from that intelligent, powerful and very cute little fellow. Imagine the voice of Yoda in your head saying, “Do or do not. There is no Try” What would your wise person say to you? Would it be someone living, someone you know, or a famous movie character like mine?
You recognize that you want help with this or any other patterns you notice are causing you to live a stressful life, and you struggle to take control on your own.
Working with me, you will find your life will be so much happier.
You can be like Melissa, who texted me saying that she felt calmer, more balanced, and ready for what may come after working with me. Melissa was surprised and blown away by her life transformation.
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