While many think that perfectionism is something to strive for, being a perfectionist can have a negative impact on your self-view and emotional well-being. As a perfectionist, you might be very self-critical when you fail to meet the high standards and often unattainable goals that you consistently set for yourself. Since your self-esteem is mainly based on what you achieve, failing to accomplish your unrealistic goals can lead to a constant state of disappointment, anxiety, depression, and feelings of unworthiness. If perfectionism is taking a toll on your mental health, there are some things that you can do to help.
What Is Perfectionism
Perfectionism, or the need to appear to be perfect or flawless in one or more areas, and believing that being perfect is possible, is a trait that many think of as positive. However, perfectionists can set unrealistically high standards that are impossible to achieve, leading to feelings of inadequacy and mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. The fear of failure can lead to negative self-judgment and can keep perfectionists from beginning, or completing tasks at times. Self-esteem is often derived from achievements and the approval of others, rather than from within. Perfectionists can be highly critical of themselves and others and often engage in black-or-white thinking. They may experience little satisfaction, a lot of disappointment, and may feel as if they will never be good enough. Below are 6 tips to manage perfectionism.
1. Strive For Good Enough
Instead of trying to be perfect, try to be good enough. The concept of being good enough refers to knowing when putting more effort into something is unlikely to improve it. This way, you aim to do the best that you can do, instead of trying to do the best that you believe might be possible. Doing this sets up more realistic expectations that can actually be achieved. It does not mean not trying, or settling for mediocrity. Mainly it is about knowing when enough is enough, instead of trying to reach unrealistic standards. You will be less likely to procrastinate and more likely to finish what you start, when you are striving to be good enough.
2. Practice Self-Compassion
When you practice self-compassion, you are able to relate to yourself in a kind, understanding and caring way. Perfectionists often focus on what is lacking and how they are not measuring up. If you are kind and gentle with yourself instead, you can start to notice what is going well and the gifts you have. To practice self-compassion, you need to notice your negative self-talk and how you can change it to something that is accurate, but kind. Stop judging yourself so harshly. Begin and end your day by writing down a few things that you did right and are proud of. Talk to yourself the way you talk to someone that you deeply care for. This way you can start to appreciate your strengths.
3. Forgive Yourself
Practicing self-forgiveness can also help with perfectionism. Achieving perfection is an impossible task. In order to even come close, you will probably struggle to meet the high standards that you have set. You can choose to beat yourself up for this, or you can practice self-forgiveness. Forgiving yourself for not being perfect is a way to let go of the need to punish yourself or ruminate on your shortcomings. Self-forgiveness helps you put these things behind you so you can learn, adjust, and move forward. This way the focus can be on new possibilities, not on past shortcomings.
4. Challenge Your Thoughts
If you struggle with perfectionism, negative thoughts can become problematic. The thought of failure can stop you from even trying. There can be a lot of negative thoughts about not measuring up or being enough. These thoughts can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression that can impact your behavior. When these negative thoughts come up, it is important to recognize them and challenge their accuracy. Consider another way to think about it that is more compassionate, and change your negative self-talk.
5. Focus On The Lessons
A perfectionist has a hard time with mistakes. Instead of viewing mistakes as learning opportunities, you might see them as a character flaw. This can make it difficult to learn valuable lessons that can lead to improvement. When you are able to look for the lessons when things don’t go perfectly, you can let go of some of the negative self-judgment. This way, you start to look at what you are gaining, not what you are lacking.
6. Celebrate Achievements
As a perfectionist, it can be hard to take pride in your accomplishments. You notice all of your imperfections and what isn’t going well, instead of celebrating what you have achieved. This can cause your achievements to seem meaningless as your expectations are so high. You naturally look for the things that need fixing and forget to acknowledge your successes. Celebrating your achievements may seem frivolous and unnecessary. However, it can actually be highly motivating and encouraging. Taking the time to appreciate your accomplishments enables you to give yourself the praise that you ordinarily try to get from others, which can improve your self-esteem.
If you struggle with perfectionism that is having a negative impact on your mental health, try the above tips. Counseling can help perfectionism that continues to be problematic. When you set more realistic goals and try your best, you can improve your self-esteem and emotional well-being.
Unrealistic expectations can cause a lot of disappointment in your relationship. When things don’t go the way you think they should, you may want to give up on your partner. Relationships are hard work and rarely live up to the happily ever after depicted in movies. If you believe your relationship is supposed to be perfect, you will probably feel let down at some point. In order to maintain a healthy couple connection, you need to try to avoid these 8 unrealistic expectations that can cause problems in your relationship.
1. You Will Never Fight
Conflict is normal in a relationship. You are different people with different ideas, opinions, needs, and beliefs. Disagreements provide a different perspective and a chance to come up with creative solutions. In fact, if you and your partner never fight, you are probably not discussing important issues. This might appear to be helpful in the short term, but it can leave you feeling disconnected from your partner, and unsafe in your relationship, in the long term. Fighting with your partner gives you a chance to practice agreeing to disagree and repairing your bond. When conflict is accepted as a normal part of your relationship, you can feel safe saying whatever you need to say, which can bring you closer together.
2. You Will Do Everything The Same Way
It is unlikely that you and your partner will do everything the same way. You may have very different parenting styles, daily habits, and cleaning styles. It is also possible that you each show and receive love differently. Expecting your partner to do things exactly the way that you do, can lead to a lot of disappointment in your relationship. This is also true if you feel there is only one right way to do things. Without some flexibility, you will end up nagging, or doing everything yourself. Maybe it’s actually more important that things get done, even if your partner goes about it in a different way.
3. Your Partner Can Read Your Mind
Good relationships require effective communication. Believing that your partner will be able to know what you need without you telling them is unrealistic. You will end up feeling let down and will be constantly disappointed if you expect your partner to read your mind. When your partner doesn’t anticipate your wants and needs, you may begin to believe that they don’t care. This can lead to a lot of problems in your relationship and you could start to resent your partner. If you clearly state your needs, you actually learn a lot more about your partner. When you share your needs, you will learn a lot about your relationship by your partner’s response.
4. You Can Change Your Partner
Although change is inevitable, entering into a relationship with the belief that you can change your partner isn’t healthy. You can only change yourself. Trying to change someone else is disrespectful. While you do need to be able to compromise to have a successful relationship, you also need to accept your partner for who they are. Assuming you can change your partner can lead to resentment. If your partner feels pressure to change things they don’t want to change, they may resent you. When your partner doesn’t change something you want them to, you may resent them. The lack of acceptance in the relationship can also lead to emotional distance.
5. Your Partner Will Never Change
Life is about change and growth. The only way to remain exactly the same is to stay stagnant. You would probably be very concerned if your child didn’t grow and change. However, when your partner changes it can feel unfamiliar and even scary. You may feel as if you no longer know or understand your partner. Change doesn’t have to be scary, it can also be exciting. If there is room in your relationship for healthy growth, your relationship can remain fresh and invigorating long after the honeymoon phase is over.
6. You Should Do Everything Together
Since you and your partner are different people, you most likely have some different interests as well. While doing things together is good for bonding, doing things apart can also enhance your relationship. When you focus on your own interests and goals, you have more things to share with your partner. Focusing on what enriches you as an individual can increase your overall emotional well-being. When you feel content and fulfilled, your positive vibes are felt by your partner as well, which is good for your relationship.
7. Everything Should Be Divided Equally
While this is a good idea in theory, it rarely works in practice. You and your partner have individual strengths and weaknesses that you each bring to the table. If you enjoy cooking, and your schedule permits, you may want to be in charge of meal preparation the majority of the time. Likewise, if your partner works in the home, it may make more sense for them to take on more of the child care responsibilities. If your partner is sick, you will need to contribute more until they are better. Dividing things equally may not make sense at times. The important thing is that things are divided in a way that works for your relationship.
8. You Shouldn’t Need To Work On Your Relationship
Relationships require sustained effort from both people. Life events, misunderstandings, and changing circumstances can complicate your relationship. If your relationship is not a priority, it can be difficult to maintain. Issues in your relationship need to be addressed and you also need to know when to bite your tongue. It can be difficult at times to find the right balance between the two. The decision to work on your relationship together creates a feeling of safety and sense of commitment that can greatly enhance your connection.
Unrealistic expectations can cause a lot of problems in your relationship. If you struggle to maintain more realistic expectations, couples therapy can help. When you are able to lower some of your unrealistic expectations, you can experience a healthier and stronger couple connection.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can have a negative impact on a person’s emotional well-being and ability to function effectively. It can be especially difficult to manage when OCD develops as a result of trauma. There is a link between trauma and OCD. It can be hard to treat when symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) also occur. It is important to also address symptoms of PTSD, when a traumatic experience leads to OCD.
What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by both obsessive thoughts or sensations and compulsive actions. Those experiencing OCD have distressing thoughts that cause them to engage in repetitive behaviors to decrease anxiety related to obsessions. Although anyone can experience distressing thoughts at times, those with OCD have persistent thoughts requiring strict behaviors to manage them. If they are unable to perform these behaviors, they become very distressed. The repetitive behaviors are very time consuming, taking up at least an hour of their day. OCD can cause significant impairment in functioning in one or more areas of life.
Although many with OCD recognize that their obsessions are unrealistic, it’s not enough to stop them from engaging in compulsions. Obsessions are thoughts, sensations, images, or ideas that lead to fear, anger, disgust, and other distressing emotions. Fears related to something happening to a loved one, images of a distressing event, or thoughts of harming a child can cause a great deal of anxiety. In fact, the obsessions can become overwhelming.
In order to relieve the overwhelming anxiety, a ritual must be performed. Compulsions are behaviors that a person feels compelled to do in order to alleviate the anxiety created by the obsession. These compulsions can be related to the obsession, or completely unrelated. Compulsions such as repeatedly checking things, constantly washing hands or cleaning, or repetitively counting to a certain number, can significantly interfere with a person’s quality of life.
OCD And Trauma
Trauma refers to any distressing event that overwhelms someone’s capacity to cope effectively. While not everyone that experiences trauma will develop OCD, research shows a link between trauma and OCD, especially childhood trauma. This can include a single event, like being the victim of a violent crime, or more complex trauma, such as repeated sexual abuse. Childhood trauma can lead to obsessive thoughts and compulsions and a diagnosis of OCD.
PTSD And OCD
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and OCD can co-occur at a very high rate. This has caused some to suggest that these disorders are on the same continuum. The obsessive thoughts associated with both can lead to hypervigilance and compulsive behaviors. These behaviors are to help manage the thoughts, flashbacks, and anxiety common in these disorders. For instance, if someone was involved in a house fire, it would be normal for them to want to check their home for possible fire hazards for a period of time afterwards. However, if this behavior continues after several months, becomes compulsive and interferes with their ability to leave the house, or fall asleep, they may have developed PTSD and OCD.
Treatments for PTSD include trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), brainspotting, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). In TF-CBT you learn about the trauma and create a narrative to process the trauma. While doing this, you use techniques to help calm down the central nervous system. EMDR and brainspotting enable you to access stored traumatic memories. Accessing these memories enables you to reprocess them through the use of certain tools and bilateral stimulation. The most common treatment for OCD is exposure and response therapy. In this therapy, you are exposed to the stimulus that causes anxiety without being able to engage in the compulsions. It is important to treat both PTSD and OCD. Treating only one can lead to an increase of symptoms in the other.
If you have experienced a trauma and are having symptoms of both PTSD and OCD, individual counseling can help. Make sure whoever you work with has experience treating both disorders. With proper help, you can learn to manage the symptoms of trauma related OCD and PTSD. Then they will no longer have a negative impact on your emotional well-being.
Although being a people-pleaser might not seem like a bad thing, it can actually cause a lot of problems. People-pleasers like to feel needed, but can easily end up feeling used and taken advantage of. If you are a people-pleaser, you most likely neglect your own needs in order to meet the needs of others, no matter the cost. People-pleasing can cause both physical and mental health issues. In order to protect your health, you need to stop being a people-pleaser. Below are 6 tips to help you stop being a people-pleaser.
What Is A People-Pleaser
A people-pleaser is someone who has a need to please others. They often do things for others at the expense of their own needs. People-pleasers are very kind and helpful and they are always willing to lend a hand. However, they can feel as though they have to do everything that is asked of them in order to be loved and accepted. They can have a hard time saying no. People-pleasers do not like anyone being angry with them and try to avoid conflict at all costs. They feel responsible for the emotions of others and tend to over apologize. They may anticipate and try to meet the needs of someone before being asked. People-pleasers can believe it is their responsibility to make other people happy.
Why Is Being A People-Pleaser A Problem
People-pleasers can be so busy taking care of everyone else, that they forget to take care of themselves. They can identify so strongly with caregiving and agreeing with others that they can lose sight of their own needs, values, and beliefs. Their kindness, willingness to help, and difficulty saying no, can lead to other people taking advantage of them. People-pleasers can become overworked and overburdened, which can lead to them harboring resentment towards those they are helping. The desire to avoid conflict can cause them to accept bad behavior from others. Putting aside their own needs can cause them to believe their needs aren’t important. If you identify with the above, there are things you can do to stop being a people-pleaser.
1. Learn To Say No
People-pleasers have trouble saying no. When you always say yes, you can become easily become overwhelmed. It will be hard to take pleasure in the things you do if you are doing too much. This can lead to feeling anxious and building resentment against the people you are helping. Saying no some of the time can keep this from happening. You don’t need to give a lengthy explanation as to why you are saying no. Keep it short and matter of fact. Start by saying no to small requests. Try not to volunteer your time, energy, and help automatically. If you have two people ask you for something, say yes to only one of the requests. Saying no to some of the things that you really don’t want to do enables you to devote your all to the things that are important to you. When you are able to say no, your yeses become more meaningful as well.
2. Delay Your Response
Although saying no is very important, it can also be quite difficult. If you have trouble saying no to the things you don’t want to do, you can delay your response. You could say something like, let me check my schedule and I will get back to you with an answer tomorrow. Delaying your response gives you time to make a more informed decision. You can then carefully consider if the request is something you really want to do, and if it is worth your time and effort. By delaying your response, you can stop your automatic yes response until you have had time to really think about what you are committing to.
3. Establish Healthy Boundaries
Establishing clear, healthy boundaries can keep you from feeling used by others. When you have healthy boundaries with both yourself and others, you will feel stronger as an individual, and your relationships will strengthen. People-pleasers often put the needs of others before their own, which can cause them to feel a lot of resentment. When healthy boundaries are established, you will be less likely to build resentment. For instance, if your friend always calls you to talk about her problems at dinner time, and your dinner gets cold, you might harbor resentment about this. Instead, you could establish a boundary. You can let her know that you won’t be answering the phone at dinner time and will only be able to talk to her after you are done eating. Once you establish a boundary, you need to make sure you abide by it as well.
4. Practice Empathic Assertion
Since it can be hard for a people-pleaser to say no without trying to justify it, practicing empathic assertion might be helpful. Assertiveness refers to standing up for yourself and what you need in a calm, positive way. Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings from their point of view. When you put the two together, you can respond in a way that acknowledges the other person’s situation or feelings, followed by a statement in which you stand up for yourself and what you need. If a friend asks you to come early to help with a party they are hosting at the last minute, you can respond with empathic assertion. You could say, I understand this party is important to you. However, I made other plans and I can’t come over early. This might be an easier response to give to your close friends and family members since it is a lot softer than simply saying no.
5. Know Yourself
It is easy for people-pleasers to be very aware of the needs and wants of others. However, it can be difficult to know your own wants and needs. In order to know what is important to you and what you want and need, you need to know yourself. Spend time alone with yourself daily and figure out your likes and dislikes. Listen to your inner voice and figure out why you are really doing something for someone else. If it is just so they will like you, or because you don’t want them to be upset, maybe you should say no. When you are clear about what you want, you can start saying yes to yourself and meeting your own needs instead of worrying about everyone else.
6. Practice Self-Care
Once you know yourself and your needs, you can start practicing self-care. Self-care is about giving yourself the things that help you feel refreshed, calm, and energized so you can thrive. This includes eating healthy meals, exercising, engaging in activities that you enjoy, and spending time with friends and family. It can also include meditation, mindfulness, practicing gratitude, getting your hair and nails done, and taking a relaxing bath. Self-care is not selfish. In fact, when you take good care of yourself, you have more to give to others.
To start focusing on your own needs and stop being a people-pleaser, try these tips. If people-pleasing is having a negative impact on your emotional well-being, therapy can help. When you stop trying to please everyone else, you will have the time and energy to care for yourself and do the things that bring you joy.
Being an empath can be challenging at times. Your high sensitivity can feel more like a burden, than an asset. However, being an empath is not necessarily a negative thing. There are many positives to being an empath as well. Below are 10 benefits of being an empath.
Empaths readily notice and tune into the emotions of others. You see the pain and suffering of everyone around you. It is probably easy for you to absorb the feelings of others as well. You are highly attuned to your surroundings and everyone in it. Empaths are very aware of subtle changes and can easily become overstimulated by sounds, smells, noises, and crowds. While having so much empathy can be difficult at times, there are also a number of benefits associated with being an empath.
1. Good Intuition
As an empath, you are very intuitive. When you absorb the emotions of others, you rely on your own gut feelings and intuition to make sense of everything. This enables you to notice subtle changes in body language, facial expression, and tone. You easily pick up on discrepancies in what is being communicated. Because of this, you will be able to tell when others are being dishonest. It won’t be easy for anyone to lie to you. If someone tells you nothing is wrong, it will be easy for you to tell if this is accurate or not.
Empaths are very creative. Since you pick up so much from your environment, a creative outlet provides a way to express it. You put a lot of emotion and energy into everything you create. Your creative efforts often move others because of this. Therefore, you can be quite successful in any field that requires creativity. This includes working as a writer, artist, dancer, actor, or chef among others. If you don’t work in a creative field, you will benefit from a hobby where you can use your creativity.
It is natural for empaths to want to help others. This is not limited to friends and family. You may also go out of your way to help a stranger. Because you are so good at understanding what others are experiencing, you often know what type of help will be most effective. Your trusting nature and kindness draw others to you, especially those in need. People turn to you for your sound advice and excellent listening skills. Helping others helps you feel good, as you are flooded with positive emotions that reinforce your helpfulness.
Empaths are very compassionate and understanding. It is easy for you to show kindness to others and to champion the underdog. You truly love being in nature, young children, and animals. They are naturally drawn to you as well. Seeing others in distress causes a great deal of discomfort. Your compassion knows no bounds. You feel a strong desire to comfort anyone that is suffering, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.
Because you are so attuned to your environment as an empath, you are very aware of any changes that occur. This can help you avoid uncomfortable, or even dangerous situations. The energy of a place is noticed immediately and deeply felt. When the vibe in the room is positive, it enlivens your mood and makes you feel great. Likewise, you also notice when something is off with someone you are close to. Because you are so aware, you can provide others with a safe space to share, and you usually know just what they need as well.
6. Healing Energy
Empaths have a very healing energy. Others are often soothed simply by being in your presence. Feeling someone else’s pain gives you a stronger insight into what they need most. When you understand another’s pain, you can also understand what might help them. The ability that empaths have to really hear and understand someone can be quite healing on its own.
7. Feel Others Emotions
As an empath, you not only notice the emotions of other people, but you are actually able to feel them. This enables you to understand others on a deeper level. If you are with someone who is excited, you can experience the excitement as well. When you are with someone who is positive and joyful, you can experience these wonderful feelings as strongly as if they were your own. This can cause you to feel amazing.
8. Experience Feelings Deeply
Along with experiencing other people’s feelings strongly as an empath, your own emotions are deeply felt as well. If you are feeling some harder emotions such as sadness, or fear, you are able to process them quicker because you allow yourself to feel them so deeply. When you are feeling more positive emotions, you are able to fully feel them as well. This allows you to relive the enjoyable experience that created the wonderful feelings, so you feel the feelings all over again.
9. Meaningful Relationships
Empaths do not enjoy superficial relationships. Therefore, an empath usually has very deep and meaningful relationships. This is true of friendships as well as romantic relationships. Since an empath is naturally understanding and compassionate, you find it easier to forgive others. This can help improve the quality and duration of your relationships. You are always there with support when anyone close to you is suffering.
10. Enjoy Alone Time
Alone time is very important to empaths. You need alone time to process your feelings and to differentiate your emotions from the emotions of others. Alone time gives you a chance to decompress and daydream. Since you rely so much on your intuition, and you possess a strong imagination, alone time helps you strengthen both. When you engage in time alone, you are able to recharge your batteries so you are not as overwhelmed by overstimulation.
While being an empath can have it’s challenges, there are also many benefits. If you are struggling with some of the challenges of being an empath, individual counseling can help. By focusing on the benefits of being an empath, you can enhance your overall emotional well-being.