I am a perfectionist. I am also human, and thus imperfect. And this dynamic, unfortunately, fuels my anxiety. And when my anxiety gets really bad, my defenses are down, my self-care routines aren’t as effective, and depression sneaks in as well. And when these perfectly imperfect patterns get really bad, it can trigger my dark, downward spirals.
This was something I discussed with my therapist this past week. And what my therapist stressed was how I would react to similar mistakes when others commit them. Of course, I already know that I am my own worst critic. The trick then is to learn how to recognize these perfectly imperfect patterns in the moment, before it causes my anxiety to ramp up.
Because ultimately, the most important part of my self-care routine, I believe of any self-care routine, is self-compassion. Because we will all fail at something sometime. Failing, being imperfect, is how we learn. It is how we grow. Even in my recovery, I know there will be bumps in the road. I know there will be setbacks. And if I beat myself up for these set backs, I will inevitably find myself in the darkest of places and I will be trapped there for far longer than I need to be.
Yet I am lucky. I am lucky that I have a supportive team that knows that I have demons that I battle. They are perfect allies for my perfectly imperfect battles, helping to pull me back from the darkness before the demons of anxiety and depression can pull me too far down.
So if perfectionism is something you struggle with, particularly if you notice it notching up your anxiety some, then try being mindful of this perfectly imperfect pattern. Try being mindful that we are all imperfect. And then try some self-care and self-compassion. Because trust me when I say it is such a crucial step on the road to recovery.
Or more accurately trust my therapist when she said it to me.