What do perfectionism and procrastination have in common?
They are both manifestations of anxiety and fear.
They are both related to the need to control the future.
They are both rooted in judgment.
They both perpetuate additional anxiety when we judge ourselves for not being good enough, or not getting something done in a certain way, in a certain timeframe.
They are both ways we stop ourselves from being as potent as we truly be.
Perfectionism is the compulsive need to do everything according to some arbitrary gold standard.
Have you ever asked yourself where those standards come from? Your friends, family, society?
Do you get that those standards are invented?
Take a look at body size. A few hundred years ago, being rounder was considered highly attractive. In other parts of the world, that's still true today. But in America, thin is in. Who created that? If you were choosing your body size just for you, what would you choose? What would your body choose?
Procrastination is putting off or delaying the completion of a task.
Why do people procrastinate?
For a variety of reasons. Sometimes it's to get an adrenaline rush at the last minute. Other times to prove to ourselves that we can wait until the last minute and still pull it off. And in other situations because we are so concerned with getting it just right, we don't take action at all. Perfectionism, meet procrastination.
Perfectionism and the procrastination that comes from it are rooted in judgments, especially “It's never good enough,” or the more toxic version, “I'm never good enough.”
There's an obsessive-compulsive aspect to this thinking that can start to feel like you're running on a never-ending hamster wheel. If you were to actually attain the holy grail of perfection with one thing in your life, you'd be worrying about the next imperfect thing in no time. This is how people get addicted to plastic surgery, for example. The target of the obsession is irrelevant; it's the obsessive thinking and “comparing yourself to others” pattern that creates the compulsion to perfection. And the procrastination comes in when you paralyze yourself with your obsessive self-judgment.
So how do you change all this?
Start by asking questions:
- What's right about this that I'm not getting? What's right about me that I'm not getting?
- What if there's nothing wrong with me? What if there was never anything wrong with me?
- Whose point of view is this? What's my reality with this? If I were choosing just for me, what would I choose? Return to sender whatever is not yours.
- What invention am I using to create the need of being perfect?
- What have I made so vital about possessing perfection that keeps me from being all of me?
- What have a made so vital about possessing perfection that keeps me from choosing anything?
And with the procrastination, you can ask questions like:
- Is now actually the time for me to take action? Is this for now or later? (Choose whichever one feels energetically lighter to you.)
- If I choose to do this now, what will it create? If I wait, what will that create?
- Do I have enough creation going on in my life? If you don't, chances are that you will take all that unused creative energy and create a bunch of problems with it. Try to have at least 5-10 projects going at any given time and go back and forth working on them. Don't worry about finishing one project before starting another, just work on one thing until you get bored or need a change of scenery. Watch how easily stuff gets done this way!
And finally, get your Bars run! Access Bars® is an amazing stress reliever that can work wonders on anxiety and self-judgments. Years worth of crap gets released simply by gently touching 32 points on the head. For more info go here.
If you're interested in experiencing the Bars firsthand and learning how to run them on others, I'll be facilitating a Bars class in San Francisco on June 5th. I'll also be co-facilitating a Bars class in Chicago on July 31st. More info here.
Please join Dr. Lisa and me next Tuesday May 26th at 10am PT/1pm ET for her radio show, where we'll be this topic further. We'll also be facilitating live callers who have these issues. http://drlisacooney.com/my-radio-show/