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Perfectionism: overcoming its root cause

I always call perfectionism 'fear in high-heeled shoes'.

Hearing Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favourite writers, say these words in an interview was just the wake-up call I needed.

I used to pride myself on being a perfectionist. But her candid perspective held a mirror up for me, which I instantly knew I needed to look into more closely. And look closely I did.

Perfectionism is one of the most toxic illusions we buy into.⁣⁣ And it’s exhausting. ⁣⁣

It stifles creativity, curiosity, authenticity, spontaneity and intuition. It holds us back from taking action and making progress. Its pressure is a direct route to burnout if we're not careful. It certainly led me to burnout!


And if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, it’s a standard we set out of fear of not measuring up. ⁣⁣

I'd struggled with perfectionism for years, yet all the while, I happily convinced myself that it was a positive trait.

I pressured myself to achieve perfect results, not realising that I was actually trying to hide the fact that I didn’t feel good enough underneath it all. I couldn't see that I was masking fears of failure and rejection at the time. Burning the candle at both ends, while swanning gracefully on the surface. I believed I needed to look the part perfectly, trying to gloss over the parts of me that I thought were flawed. And I projected these fears outwardly, stressing about people and things around me in very unhealthy ways.

Until I realised where the pressure of perfectionism was stemming from.

While this was a massive reality check,⁣⁣ it came as an incredible relief at the same time. Because once I could see it clearly for what it was, I was able to let perfectionism go pretty quickly.

And this felt like an enormous exhale.

I no longer felt I needed to reach for impossible ideals, and could see what was driving this pattern with a lot more self-compassion.

Without the rigidity and controlling tendencies of perfectionism, I could let things go with more ease, which meant I could allow for more flow, possibility and grace.


I was able to accept that I will never be "perfect". None of us are, or ever will be perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. ⁣⁣And I could finally accept that this is perfectly alright.

But above all, it meant permission to accept myself - just as I was - that little bit more.

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Disclaimer: The information in this post, and all of my other blog posts, is provided for general information purposes only.


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