Pursuing happiness

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Pursuing Happiness: Why we should let go of being perfect

Summary
– be the best you can be, but give up on the idea of everything being perfect: body, career, home, family, friendship group etc.,
– perfectionism often means we are uncomfortable with negative emotions
– when we do not allow ourselves to experience painful emotions, we also lose our capacity for happiness (Tal Ben-Shahar, author of The Pursuit of Perfect”

There are 3 important aspects of perfectionism:
1) the rejection of failure – i.e. win at all costs or give up
2) the rejection of success – i.e. the failure to stop & appreciate how far you have come & what you have achieved
3) the rejection of painful emotions, such as fear

Perfectionists often use the words: should, must, ought to
– changing such words can ease pressure & make you feel better about yourself (but it will take practice)
– such words evoke the fear of not being ok, of not being good enough

Such words can play in your head.

Instead, try replacing such words with:
– I would like to…
– it would be great if…
[these simple changes can take the emotion, the guilt & negative associations away]

Perfectionists are often very fixed in their thinking & views.
– if a journey is a line, a perfectionist might envisage such a line as being straight, with no deviations (or the journey must be onwards & upwards)
– perfectionists often fear failure, & their primary concern is to avoid falling down, deviating or stumbling

To change is difficult, but worth it.

When we put ourselves on the line, fall down & get up again, we become more resilient. & to further reinforce this change, if you learn from loss, then you have not really lost, but rather gained a deeper understanding of yourself (& your studies, your profession). You are also sending yourself a message that you can really do whatever it is your attempting (relationships, work, family). By embracing challenge, you also boost self-esteem.

The opposite of perfectionism is feeling I am enough. It is more realistic & authentic too.

Source: S. Scott, ABC Health & Wellbeing | 11 February 2016

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