Re-thinking the way you feel good about yourself
Perfectionists usually set very high goals, to the point where their goals are impossible to reach. Also, the areas in which they seek to do well in decrease. They often end up judging themselves almost entirely in one or two areas of their life (e.g., how they do in school, the way they look). They feel good about themselves only when they are doing well in these areas. And when these areas aren’t going well, they feel bad about themselves.
Here are some ways to help you feel good about yourself no matter what happens:
1. Knowing that you can feel good about yourself, apart from how well you do in an area
Write yourself a letter, taking the role of a kind person. This can be an imaginary person; a real person whom you consider to be kind but whom you don’t know personally e.g. Mother Teresa, Dalai Lama; a real person whom you know and consider to be kind. Comment on what has happened in your life so far that makes you a good person worthy of being loved apart from your achievements.
Some ideas are photos of your family and you being happy, even when you were a baby or a toddler and not achieving anything, spending time with your childhood best friend, teacher encouraging you when your grades slipped and making sure you were OK, a best friend who was always there no matter what, good friends who would just enjoy hanging out with you no matter what your grades were.
2. Encouraging flexible and realistic goals
In session 5, we discussed turning strict rules into flexible guidelines e.g. turning “I must always be on time for gatherings” to “I will always try to be on time for gatherings but realize that I can’t control every situation all the time and may sometimes be late e.g. in a traffic jam”. This flexibility without the use of “should” and “must” can help a person feel less stressed.