Perfectionism comes in many forms and can cause various problems, but cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help overcome these issues and lead you to success. What exactly is perfectionism?
It’s the tendency to expect too much of oneself, others, and situations; have unrealistic or excessively high standards; desire that things should happen as one wants them to happen; and tend to make critical self-evaluations, among other characteristics.
CBT can help you develop new attitudes and behaviors that will set you free from perfectionism’s debilitating hold on your life. Here is how cognitive behavioral therapy overcomes perfectionism, along with some information about how CBT works.
1) Shift the focus from behavior to thoughts
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on the thoughts behind our behaviors and how they can lead to destructive patterns. The central idea is that our thoughts drive our behaviors and there is always a way to change them. CBT has been shown to be one of the most effective treatments for several different disorders, including perfectionism.
2) Get rid of unrealistic expectations
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a great way to learn how to manage and overcome unrealistic expectations, especially when it comes to perfectionism. CBT can help you recognize the difference between what is realistic and what is not, which will allow you to stop setting yourself up for disappointment and failure.
3) CBT helps you accept who you are
CBT focuses on the idea that perfectionism is a way for you to feel better about yourself, but it does not work. CBT helps you accept who you are and what you have done. It also teaches you how to make your goals easier to attain, so that they don't seem as overwhelming.
4) Emphasize flawed beliefs, or biases
Perfectionists often believe that if they are anything less than perfect, they will be a disappointment. They may also believe that being an overachiever is the only way to make their parents happy. With these beliefs, it's easy to see why perfectionists might struggle with perfectionism. CBT can help you overcome these flawed beliefs and biases by teaching you how to identify your thoughts and evaluate them for accuracy.
5) Realize change is possible
There is hope for change. You can overcome perfectionism. CBT is a proven, effective treatment for overcoming perfectionistic thinking and behavior patterns. There are many benefits to CBT that can be achieved through the course of therapy, such as: increased self-acceptance, reduced anxiety, enhanced mood stability and decreased depression symptoms. CBT may also help you develop healthier coping mechanisms and improved interpersonal relationships.
All in all, if you're currently struggling with perfectionism, consider looking into CBT. Mindfulness, in particular, has been shown to be a useful technique, and there are many other CBT techniques designed specifically for overcoming perfectionism.