Three most common causes of insecurity and how to beat them…
ADOPTED FROM Psychology Today Written by Melanie Greenberg Ph.D
Type 3: Insecurity Driven by Perfectionism
Some of us have very high standards for everything we do. You may want the highest grades, the best job, the perfect figure, the most beautifully decorated apartment or house, neat and polite kids, or the ideal partner. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always turn out exactly the way we want, even if we work extra hard. There is a piece of the outcome that is at least, to some degree, out of our control. Bosses may be critical, jobs may be scarce, partners may resist commitment, or you may have genes that make it difficult to be skinny. If you are constantly disappointed and blaming yourself for being anything less than perfect, you will start to feel insecure and unworthy. While trying your best and working hard can give you an advantage, there are other aspects of perfectionism that are unhealthy. Beating up on yourself and constantly worrying about not being good enough can lead to depression and anxiety, eating disorders, or chronic fatigue.
Below are some ways to combat perfectionism:
1. Try to evaluate yourself based on how much effort you put in, which is controllable, rather than on the outcome, which is dependent on external factors.
2. Think about how much difference it would actually make if your work were 10 percent better. Would the time and energy spent in checking and re-checking or answering every email really be worth it?
3. Perfectionism is often based on all-or-nothing thinking, so try to find the grey areas. Is there a more compassionate or understanding way to view a situation? Are you taking your circumstances into account when you evaluate yourself? Is there something you learned or achieved even if the end result wasn’t perfect?
4. Perfectionists often have conditional self-esteem: They like themselves when they are on top and dislike themselves when things don’t go their way. Can you learn to like yourself even when you are not doing well? Focus on inner qualities like your character, sincerity, or good values, rather than just on what grades you get, how much you get paid, or how many people like you.
- Winch, Guy Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts (Plume, 2014)
- Greenberg M. (2015) Six Mental Health Habits That Will Wear You Down.