9 ways that perfectionism can lead to burnout
First of all, let’s clear out a really common misunderstanding.
We believe that perfectionism is a healthy mindset that leads to perfect results, perfect achievements, perfect life, to perfection.
However, the truth is somewhat different: perfectionism is the stress we feel in order to be perceived as perfect by others or ourselves and the exhausting effort we put in order to deal with that stress.
In other words, perfectionism feels like we are not enough and we need to try more in order to become so. And when we say “try”, we mean try a lot.
This is how I call any challenging situation, any hard time in life, that brings turbulence in my inner -hard-won- balance.
I call it like that not only because it is -objectively- a difficult moment in your life. But mainly because it blows a strong wind inside your mind, it makes you feel you have no shelter to protect yourself, it thunders against all what you have believed and dreamt so far, it pours you into an emotional rollercoaster, and all this you have to fight it by yourself.
Each December I find myself engaged (sometimes in a frenetic way), determining what my New Year's Resolutions will be.
The first thing I do is go back to the last year's list and tick all those that have been achieved. Most of the times the result is somewhere between "ok" and "satisfying" and if there are a few non-kept resolutions, I just convince myself that those were the "substitute" ones, the ones that would just bring some extra flavour to the year's achievement.
Second step is to figure out what I want for the following year. This December, however, making my New Year Resolution list is somewhat different. For some strange reason, I keep asking myself "If you already know where you're heading, why do you need a list"?
Three weeks on holidays. After an exhausting year of work, work, work. Three books chosen. (Or, let to be chosen.)
1. One from the classics: The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway. (Actually that was a re-read. I first read it during my school years. Different eras, different perspectives, totally different insights.)
2. One from my favorites authors: What I talk when I talk about running, Haruki Murakami. (Or, how a writer can blow your mind, even if he's talking about his running marathons)
3. One from a random pick (someone's suggestions, somewhere in the web): A tale for the time being, Ruth Ozeki. (It turned out to be my first book written by a Zen Buddhist priest which didn't seem at all to be written by a Zen Buddhist priest.)
This is a story, a pattern which comes up very frequently when discussing with people: we all want to know whether we made the right decion or now. Or we are struggling hard in order to be 100% that we wil make the right decision in a given upcoming conflicting situation.
Take for example, those who live as expats in a foreign country.
They move to a new country for an unspecified period. They don't know whether it was a good decision or not. They struggle with life there: don't like the place, the weather, the system, the people, the traditions, the mentality. And when comparing the new life with the former one, the latter is always the winner. At the same time, they keep asking themselves: “Did I make the right decision?" In the end, they may move back to their home country with a feeling of relief, but also bitterness regarding the time “wasted” there.
On the other hand, there is another category of expats who may adjust pretty well to the new place. They have anticipated there would be difficulties in the beginning, but they are ready to compromise and to try. And above all, they never ask themselves if they made the right decision.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE.