stop being a perfectionist using these methods
in this article, I want to discuss one of the internal barriers to start a public speaking : Perfectionism and how to stop being a perfectionist.
In “presentation barriers: perfectionism,” we discussed what does perfectionism mean, and we brought some examples. Here, we try to learn some methods and ways to stop being a perfectionist.
First, we have to believe that we can change, but we have to remember that it is hard to change what has become a habit. It is possible but hard because our brain likes to be stable and maintain what position it has. To change our behavior, we have to be persistent and strong.
Second, you do not have to expect to see the results immediately. It won’t work this way. Sadly, some people expect to change right after they read a motivational book. This point of view is for perfectionists. We can change our personality with micro-actions. Micro-actions but in regularly doing them.
Third, we have to reward ourselves. Whenever you are successful in one step, thank yourself and buy something you like. Our brain includes two parts: emotional and logical.
When you decide to change, you used the logical part. When you give a present to yourself for a positive move, you trigger the emotional part. This small point makes you more motivated.
Forth, I ask you to do the practices and try the methods I give you. Take them seriously and work on them so that you can stop being a perfectionist. Don’t give up to your mind filter when your negative thoughts tell you it’s a simple way; do not listen to them and use the method to see the result.
Seven ways to stop being a perfectionist:
1- Change your internal critics to a kind couch
The tendency of being a perfectionist makes you criticize yourself. What your parents told you when you were a child makes you a critic who blames you all the time for your mistakes.
If you explore your mistakes during the day and you record others’ mistakes in your mind, or you consider negative aspects of everything more than the positive aspects, you have an internal critic.
Most people with this disorder question whoever make a tiny mistake. They don’t take anything easy on themselves, and they are not kind to themselves. They blame themselves even when they make a small mistake.
If you want to get rid of it, try to change your self-talk. Your self-talk is your critic. Try to change it to a kind couch.
For example, imagine you have to present a project in front of 20 people. Your self-talk says: “I can’t, I blow it off, I’ve done it before and I messed up, I’m not born for this. I have no use…”
It’s your mean, strict self-talk that considers a tiny mistake as a huge disaster.
• Practice A: Review these positive thoughts and values every day:
– I am honest
– I have a purpose
– I like to study and learn
– I want to be charitable
– I am responsible and committed
– I am punctual and promising
With this practice, you remind yourself how amazing you are and how many unique specialties you have.
• Practice B: write every positive and good thing you did since this morning every night:
– I said Hi to the guard when I was leaving the apartment.
– I met someone new on the subway.
– I helped someone with his address today.
– I invited my friend to eat lunch with me.
– I went shopping for my house.
– I washed the dishes.
They seem so simple, but they show how many good things you do every day which you have never noticed them before.
I suggest you do these two simple practices for 40 days to see the results one day after the other.
To do so, imagine you want to compliment a five-year-old child and admire her. It’s your inner child. The more kind you are to her/him, the more your kind couch will reveal herself/himself.
2- Change the severe rules of your life to flexible ones
Try to review all your “must” and “mustn’t” rules. One strict rule is “not to eat chocolate at all.” Instead of that, you can say: “it’s better not to eat chocolate, but it’s OK if I bend the rules sometimes.”
This way you can release yourself from these strict unusual rules that you’ve made in your mind. For example, look at these situations, what will happen if you:
– don’t set your blanket after you wake up in the morning?
– don’t keep your clothes neat and folded in your closet and let them be scattered?
– spend your time to watch unimportant shows and read irrelevant magazines sometimes?
– don’t always comb your hair?
Maybe you are surprised to see these suggestions I made, but all of them matters if you want to be free of strict and severe rules of “be perfect in your life,” and stop being a perfectionist.
3- Sometimes deliberately do something incomplete.
Yeah. You read correctly. Do something incomplete deliberately even if it means to hear someone criticize or blame you. This practice prepares you to hear criticism and you can prove to yourself that you will stop being a perfectionist.
For example, if you wash the dishes, leave two dirty glasses or plates behind.
If you want to present a PowerPoint, let it has two or three vocabulary mistakes, the way that others notice it.
4- Be free of “everything or nothing.”
The “everything or nothing” belief means you think everything is black and white and nothing in between. It will affect your judgment because you believe something is only right or wrong, good or bad, a failure or a victory.
One of the visible results of this belief is “not working at all” or “working as hard as you can.”
“not working at all” makes you lazy in life and prevents you from tracking your goals. “working as hard as you can” brings stress and nervousness for every task you’d want to do. For example, you say you have to present perfectly or not present at all because you think if you forget something during the presentation or you make a tiny mistake, it will be catastrophic.
5- Stand against the negative thoughts
If you think your presentation is going to be awful and you are going to mess things up, it will have a real effect on your performance and your mind.
You overthink about bad situations like when someone asks you a question, and you don’t know how to respond. Or you imagine the time when the audience doesn’t pay attention to you. These negative predictions make you less motivated.
Change the negative predictions to realistic judgments. For example, tell yourself: I will try as much as I can to do the right thing, but it’s OK if someone criticizes me or if I make a mistake because I am not perfect.
Imagine you want to go to a negotiation meeting. Negative thoughts come to your mind: “no, he won’t accept my offer, it doesn’t have any use. I know this plan won’t work…”
Instead of that, try to say: “I go to the meeting with my offer. I try so hard to convince him but even if he wouldn’t, I know I tried my best.”
This practice helps you change the negative predictions to realistic judgments and dive into the task that you avoid confronting them and helps you to stop being a perfectionist.
6- Stop being a perfectionist with the help of communication skills.
Perfectionists are strict people with limited communication because they take hard on others when others make a mistake. They exaggerate people’s small mistakes.
These people won’t ask their questions in public when they don’t understand anything because they think others will judge them.
They don’t talk about what they have in mind or their disagreements. They won’t share their anger, offense, and dissatisfaction to maintain their perfect relationships with others.
The solution is to try to ask your question in public when you don’t understand something. You don’t think straight to imagine people will mock you for asking your question.
Try to express your negative feelings, offense and dissatisfaction step by step.
If you see someone making a mistake, ask yourself have you ever made the same mistake? For example, if your friend lied to you or didn’t show up at the time he had to, ask yourself: have I ever lied before? Instead of questioning his personality.
Remember, the person who sees the possibility of making a mistake by himself can understand others’ defects. Someone who don’t forgive others for their mistakes, probably won’t forgive himself for his own faults.
7- Take action instead of postponing things
Perfectionism causes procrastination.
The only way to get over it is to divide your task into smaller parts and take action immediately. Don’t wait to have motivation before you start. “motivation appears after you start doing something.” So take action!
All researches about procrastination show that when you postpone it, you won’t get nervous for a short time but after a long time, you feel irresponsible and worthless which is the result of low self-esteem.
The only way is to confront what makes you nervous. If you’ve been thinking about having a presentation, you better start acting soon. Start with smaller steps, for example, try to speak in front of 10 or 20 people.
Finally, I want to thank you for reading this article and tell you that we humans are a defect because of being human. We learned how to walk after we fall, how to write after many dictation mistakes, how to drive after turning off the engine for a hundred times.
To move forward, we don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes, but we have to learn from them.
Mistakes are the result of moving forward. Not taking action makes us feel better for not making a mistake. If you want to be a public speaker, you have to know that it’s ok to make mistakes at first. There are criticisms as many as people sitting in front of you so you have to accept that people judge us, it’s our decision to use these criticisms for our success or failure.