Perfectionism is cultivated in our daily life from our social and cultural expectations. It can be reflected in many ways – from the way you fix your hair in the morning to the number of times you doubt yourself throughout the day for not being good enough.

There is a ring of the high achiever about it: ‘I have high standards; I like to do things well’.

From an early age we were exposed to the message that life is difficult, and to stand out we must be perfect by achieving the perfect marks, the perfect performance, the perfect outfit, the perfect behaviour, the perfect look and so on…

We learned to emphasize the importance of our performance over and above our emotional needs.

We learned that when we are perfect, we are seen and accepted.

Perfectionism, however, has a very negative side. It is not just about doing things well, it is about how you react when things do not go as well as you expected, and what you perceive other people’s expectations are for you. That is when people become highly self-critical and attack themselves when they feel they have not achieved perfection or the desire outcome.

Deep within perfectionism is not really about a deep love of being meticulous. It is about fear – fear of making mistakes, fear of disappointing others, fear of failure, fear of rejection.

Perfectionism is internalized oppression.

This week consider whether your stressed or burned-out is from experiencing the consequences of perfectionism and ask yourself how it would be possible to set more realistic standards without overwhelming you mentally and emotionally.

To learn and grow you need to give yourself permission to make mistakes without fear of recrimination from yourself and others. Through therapy, you can learn to increase awareness and psychological flexibility to stop being a slave to the perfectionistic voice in your head.

It is time to be real and loved, instead of perfect and admired.