Perfectionism – October ’21 Course

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    • #15987
      Ella M
      Participant

      I just wanted to start this thread for anyone else who is battling with perfectionism and the idea that anything less than perfect is worthless. I’m really struggling with my rigid mindset and just wanted to reach out to see if anyone else is too.

      If Gillian sees this, maybe she can write a few words too? I know you said on the Week 1 Webinar on Sunday that you won’t be able to discuss perfectionism until Week 6, but I was wondering if it was at all possible, maybe you could contribute a few words on this forum post? I am worried that this controlled mindset that I have is affecting my progress and may give rise to continuous days of overeating, affecting the guidance and teaching given in topics on Motivation, Choice, Desire etc in Weeks 1-5.

      I really do wish to accept the fact that ‘good enough’ is a worthwhile result. I do. I am just finding that if I do ‘overeat’, it triggers the perfectionist in me that tells me, ‘Well I’ve failed! Might as well carry on overeating!’ and this is an extremely difficult outlook to tackle. Is anyone feeling the same?

    • #15989
      Gillian
      Keymaster

      Hi Ella,

      I do see that you’re eager to get involved in this course – and that is wonderful – but I’d like to encourage you to stay with the topics as we go along.

      I assure you that if there were “a few words” I could say that would have any meaningful impact, I’d say them and not have you (and the others) go through hours of videos, webinars and other materials before we all get to Week 6.

      One characteristic of a perfectionistic mindset that might be here is expecting perfection and expecting it RIGHT NOW. This is the opposite of being on a learning curve, and it’s the learning curve that will deliver results that last. Whenever you notice your perfect all-or-nothing thinking, just bring your attention to what you are learning this week.

    • #16004
      Cyndi B.
      Participant

      Ella, I can relate to a lot of what you wrote…
      The self compassion information at the start of the course is not just fluff .. it’s actually pretty instructive and helpful to return to again. One aspect of Dr. Kristin Neff’s self compassion work that struck me was seeing how my perfectionism was a belief habit that I picked up a long (long) time ago… an immature understanding that I should be or even actually was better than other people: an immature idea that it’s okay if others aren’t perfect (I feel understanding and compassion for them), but then holding myself to a higher standard; that’s a lot of ego. This is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow or idea to contemplate, but considering the part of ego in perfectionism (thanks to Neff’s work) has been really helpful in this ELO course work.. and especially at the end when the practice and experimenting actually begin. Embracing that I’m like everyone else, no better/no worse, with ups and downs, allows me to soften, address the task at hand and work with the PROCESS of learning, not expecting myself to be above learning, above setbacks. I think this misconception is often, easily set in place when we’re children, so eager to please.. and with adults saying things to us (surely innocently, but unskillfully), in an effort to push us to apply ourselves, but since we’re children, it easily gets distorted.. and sticks with us as just an unchallenged core belief.
      It’s so early in the course.. there’s nothing to really consider, “fix” or even experiment with yet… what you’re feeling (or fearing) is okay, just let it be.. see how it changes over the coming months.
      Thanks for the topic…
      sending good vibes~

    • #16015
      Mindi J
      Participant

      Hi Ella- when I saw the topic of perfectionism I was reminded of another line of thought, the Enneagram arrangement of 9 basic personality types. I plan to start another thread just to see how else Enneagram thinking and eating less might go together, but The Perfectionist is type one of the Enneagram types (maybe you are already familiar).

      Enneagram teaches that a person is the same type all of their life and that the “goal” is to let go of rigidity for one’s type and incorporate mindsets and behaviors from the other types. It takes some of all nine types to make a healthy, whole person. Each type exists initially as an ego protection mechanism. Each type also has a some desirable traits and abilities or “superpowers” that the world really needs.

      I realize that I haven’t spoken directly to perfectionism, but I am just suggesting this may be another avenue to explore.

    • #16019
      Christy J
      Participant

      I love that you started this thread, Ella, and I love the responses you’ve gotten so far. I know perfectionism far too well myself. It’s interesting that Cyndi mentioned Kristen Neff’s work because I took a months-long course on mindful self-compassion that is based on her and Christopher Germer’s work and another course on somatic compassion and concluded they didn’t “work” because I didn’t overcome overeating! I can see that now with more amusement than frustration, which honestly was my initial response. For me, trying to overcome something and applying a lot of effort is a big part of perfectionism. I worked so hard at self-compassion!!! 😂

      What if perfectionism isn’t something to battle with perfectionistic effort? What if we can view it with amusement and curiosity and at some level realize it’s served a purpose for us thus far, although imperfectly (I’m laughing again), and take a deep breath where we are now?

      I haven’t taken the course before so I don’t know what Gillian will present but I look forward to more peace and ease as we journey together. Sending best wishes your way!

    • #16041
      Corina G
      Participant

      A word about perfectionism, which I am very familiar with, you can see from other forum posts:
      In Greek perfect means finished, so I use a reframe for myself: I cannot be finished, because I am alive and in movement, so I am…unfinished, my life journey is not done.

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