I must be perfect!

I often think of how understanding people tend to be with their friends and loved ones, and yet how incredibly hard they are on themselves. It’s a startling dichotomy.

Living up to the expectations you have of yourself in your head can be fruitless at best and damaging at worst. Getting rid of the voice that tells you that you are not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, or successful enough is one of the most difficult challenges to overcome. The rational part of your brain is quick to acknowledge that your beliefs are based on nothing, but your internal monologue continues to compare you to everyone else and find you deeply wanting.

It is positive to have high standards for yourself, but not if those standards are set so high that you cannot possibly succeed. It is important to want to be your best, but when that desire becomes an obsession that you cannot conquer (because none of is, after all, perfect) it is time for change. If your expectations are too high, you set yourself up for disappointment. Happiness cannot follow such a sequence. It is important to have goals, but more important to love the person you are right now, flaws and all.

Imagine yourself saying to your friends the things you say to yourself – if it seems overly harsh to say to them, it is too harsh to say to yourself as well. Give yourself a break. It’s not easy, but it is possible. Peace comes not from perfection but from acceptance. I’m not saying to give up on your dreams – not at all! But I think you’ll find that being comfortable in your own skin will take you a long way toward liking yourself, and liking yourself is a lot of the battle.

Be strong and love yourself a little every day. Find a good thing about you and be proud of it. Accept praise even if you think  you don’t deserve it. It makes a huge difference!

Published by Joanne Mackie, LMHC, CCTP

Psychotherapist specializing in adults with trauma, anxiety, depression and distress due to difficulty in interpersonal relations.

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