Heathdale flower 17th August 2020

Stop Perfectionism From Stunting Growth

There are many ways Perfectionism can keep our lives small. Stopping us from growing and becoming all that God plans for us to become.

Heathdale flower

Today I want to raise three ways perfectionism shows up in our lives and offer some assistance.

Three aspects, Three strategies.

1. The inability to get started for fear of failing.

I noticed when I was studying, my ironing basket was always empty, because ironing is easier than studying! I find families who have a general attitude of ‘Have a Go’ fare better in this area. Try to frame each attempt at a project as a ‘draft’; not perfect, not complete, just an attempt in the process of producing work you will be proud of. An acronym I’ll pass on is FAIL – First Attempt At Learning — you may have already heard this one, it’s an oldie and a goodie!

2. The crippling fears associated with body image issues.

Body image issues can be so damaging, especially to girls. Until our three baby girls were born last year, we had some time with five grandsons and one granddaughter. I noticed I commented lots on her appearance; her cute dress, great hair, gorgeous smile. When talking with the boys, I seemed to notice and comment on how brave they are, how strong, how smart, how they gave things a red hot go!

On reflection this was out of balance and could be leading to an image in her mind that her appearance, her image is more important that her strengths and character. I needed to make an adjustment. I still need to remind myself, because I have been conditioned to think that way. Have you? Of course, this isn't solely an issue for girls. If we hold certain ideas of how boys should appear, that can be damaging, too.

I have a challenge for you – for a week, try to only comment on your child’s character attributes and attitudes, complements that don’t access or involve their appearance.

3. The innate striving lifestyle cemented in competitiveness.

This is a quick one. No one wins with this outcome of perfectionism. Trying for an attitude of ‘Better than Yesterday’ self-improvement brings much more health to a person. Being the best, coming first in everything, beating all others will only lead to a lifetime of striving, and much pain.

If any of this resonates with you and you would like to speak further, please let me know on chaplains@heathdale.vic.edu.au

Look out for Story Time on Wednesday with Mr Baird. The book is titled ‘Zach Makes Mistakes’. It’s an excellent opportunity to check in with your child to talk about the truth that we don’t always get things right on the first attempt and that’s okay.

Bye for now and love from my home to yours.