Overcoming Perfectionism & The Fear of Making Mistakes

Overcoming Perfectionism & The Fear of Making Mistakes

Research shows that perfectionism is related to depression, anxiety, eating disorders, procrastination, and thoughts about suicide. Perfectionists have lower self-esteem, they worry more, and they have fewer pleasant experiences in their lives.

One way to think of perfectionism is that you are always trying to get the very best. Other people who are not perfectionists are more willing to be satisfied.

Since perfectionists put themselves under constant pressure to accomplish the impossible, they render themselves helpless — no matter what they do, it’s not good enough. And perfectionists are much more likely to criticize and label themselves in all-or-nothing terms: I am a complete failure.

Finally, they often believe that they have to live up to the highest expectations that other people (supposedly) have of them. These unhappy perfectionists are filled with shame and humiliation.

Overcoming Your Fear of Mistakes

We know that to err is human. We all make mistakes. Let’s look at why.

First, we don’t always have the information we need to make the “right” decision, so we have to make decisions based on imperfect information.

When you buy something, you won’t know if you will like it next week. But you buy it anyway. We get more information later — and then we find out if it was a mistake or not. We don’t know the future until it happens.

Second, we may make decisions based on our emotions — say we’re eager to “make a killing” in the stock market, so we take an unnecessary risk. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Or we get involved with someone, and then we find out that our emotions are sometimes a poor guide to what is good for us.

You can’t live without emotions, instincts, or intuition. They allow you to make decisions and find meaning in life. And, yes, they can sometimes lead to mistakes.

Third, we often have a choice between two undesirable alternatives — so we choose one. But the other could have been worse.


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You buy a car and it turns out to have problems — but the model that you rejected might have been worse. Or you take a job and it turns out to be unpleasant — but if you didn’t take the job you might have been unemployed for a long time.

I Plan To Make More Mistakes

IOvercoming Perfectionism & The Fear of Making Mistakes’ve made lots of mistakes and I plan to make more. The reason I “plan” to make more is that I intend to live my life fully.

I might make a decision and it might turn out badly. But at least I’ll be able to make decisions and live a life. I’ll be part of the human race.

©2010 by Robert Leahy. All Rights Reserved.
Excerpted with permission of the publisher,

Hay House Inc. www.hayhouse.com.

Article Source

Beat the Blues Before They Beat You--How to Overcome Depression by Robert LeahyBeat the Blues Before They Beat You: How to Overcome Depression
by Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Robert Leahy, author of the book: Beat the Blues Before They Beat You--How to Overcome DepressionRobert L. Leahy, Ph.D., is recognized as one of the most respected cognitive therapists in the world and is known internationally as a leading writer and speaker in this revolutionary field. He is the Director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City; and Past President of the International Association of Cognitive Psychotherapy, the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. He is a Clinical Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry at the Weill-Cornell Medical School. Robert Leahy has written and edited 17 books, including the bestseller The Worry Cure.

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