“Perfectionism: A challenge to our well-being”
”Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimize or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.” – Brené Brown
Many of us struggle with perfectionism at times. Perfectionism is a combination of excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations, and is officially on the rise. Our growing perfectionistic tendencies have been identified as a leading driver of poor mental wellbeing in millennials.
We may have been given the message that we lack inherent worth and that our worth must be earned somehow. Perfectionism is, thus, akin to a coping mechanism. It may be our attempt to avoid difficult feelings like shame or unworthiness. Fortunately, we can reduce our need for perfectionism.
When we put too much pressure on ourselves, we’re essentially signaling to our brain that our demands outweigh our resources. Our brains interpret this as a danger, which triggers our stress response.
Perfectionism is often a deeply rooted pattern of thinking and behaving that can negatively impact your mental wellbeing and life satisfaction. The good news is that awareness is the first step to positive change!
Here’s a short summary of four methods for reducing perfectionism:
1. Use daily affirmations. Use affirmations that resonate with you such as, “I let go of the need for other people’s approval.” Over time, this can help transform your thinking and reduce perfectionism.
2. Many of us spend our time fused to our thoughts. And here’s the thing—you are not your thoughts. You are not your mind. You are the person who can notice their mind. Mindfulness practice is all about becoming aware of this. Once you’ve developed your mindfulness skills, you’ll gain insight into unhelpful thinking patterns associated with perfectionism, anxiety, and low mood.
Reframe your thoughts. Focus on reframing your thoughts when you notice your mind using black and white language such as “always/never”, “success/failure,” and “good/bad.” Black and white language puts excessive, unfair pressure on yourself while taking you on an emotional rollercoaster.
3. Focus on taking action. To reduce the impact perfectionism has on your behavior, practice leaning into discomfort and taking action regardless of how you feel. Remember: Done is better than perfect!
4. Remember your achievements. Train your mind to focus more on your achievements. The pride you feel from paying attention to your small wins can reduce the shame underlying perfectionism, helping you address the root cause of the issue.
Counseling Services at Seattle Central College
Seattle Central Faculty Counselors are excited to continue providing distance counseling sessions to currently enrolled Seattle Central College students through a confidential Zoom platform. As counselors we have learned how much our students need stress relief, healthy connections to others and themselves, as well as time for healing and joy.
Our mission is to promote the intellectual and social-emotional development of students through counseling and teaching rooted in equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Please make your voice heard and reach out to counseling.
To contact or schedule an appointment with a counselor, please call 206.934.5407 or email Counseling.Central@seattlecolleges.edu with your name and student ID. Our phone/email are regularly monitored during our scheduled business hours Monday–Friday.
Counseling Events and Announcements
(1) Free Zoom Mindful Meditation for all students and employees
Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays from 12:10–12:30 PM | April 12–June 9
Meeting Room URL: https://tinyurl.com/yyx4eh9n
Password: Bliss! or 715567
Meeting ID: 994 361 6626
Please contact Ruby Hansra (Ruby.Hansra@seattlecolleges.edu) for any questions.
This information is also provided on the Counseling Center Events page.
These meditation sessions are now offered district wide!
(2) NAMI student club weekly meetings, “A safe place to check-in with friends,” on the “General” voice Discord channel, Fridays 3-4 PM.
All students are invited to attend on the Seattle Central NAMI Discord server: https://discord.gg/FCs88Yhdj8
In addition to those meetings, there are chat rooms for asynchronous conversations as well.
Students can also contact Jone for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
NAMI Club is a student club, in partnership with The National Alliance for Mental Health, that promotes mental wellness and destigmatizing mental illness to promote mental health support.
(3) Please check your quarterly schedule for Human Development Course (HDC) offerings!
These courses support student success by building on students’ strengths and developing their academic and life skills.
(4) Faculty Counselors offer workshops on the topics of self-care, organization, time management, stress management, test preparation and staying on course to success. You can view recordings of these workshops here.