Before we go about changing our perfectionistic thinking, we obviously need to learn how to identify when we are having these thoughts. Without awareness, we can't begin to change. I challenge you to think of your "rules" and expectations for yourself and others in multiple areas of your life. Don't choose just one area, like work or family, but try to choose many (chores, work, family, cooking, yard/house maintenance, appearance, relationships, etc...). Perfectionism tends to touch more then one area of life because it can often distort our identity (check out the link above!).
So here are a few examples:
- I should contact my roommate from college every week (and when I don't, then I'm a bad friend)
- I must keep my kitchen spotless and not ever stack dishes in the sink
- I need to get a ___% (100, 99, etc...) on every test to be a good student. Any less then this and I'm a slacker, bad student, or failure.
- If I can't do the job perfectly, I'm not even going to try, because I don't want to look incompetent
- This person needs to be nice to me by doing ____, ____, and ____ every day, or I can't believe that they really care.
- I must check every paper I write 10 times to make sure that I don't have a single spelling or grammatical error. If I miss something, the professor will think I'm stupid and incompetent, and will judge me every time they see me.
- I need to be a starter in every single sports game for my parent to really love me or care about me.
- (upon receiving a B on a test) I should have studied more and not spent time with my roommate a few nights ago. If I would have isolated myself so I could study more, I might have gotten a higher score.
- (upon not being chosen for something you applied for)- I shouldn't have even tried. I never get what I apply for and only feel embarrassed- I'm a failure.
Ok, so like I said, these are just a few examples to get you started. Each person is going to have there own beliefs, depending on personality, environment, and others.
Have you heard others around you make statements similar to these? More importantly, do you ever say these types of statements? What're the results?