What the hell does perfectionism have to do with intimacy? If it’s your main defense when you get vulnerable or you use it to push people away - everything. Perfectionism is the killer of connection.
How do your relationships with others look right now, at this very moment? Do you feel super close and connected to the most important people in your life? Your parents, siblings, partner, co-workers, even an animal if you have one. Or, are you feeling frustrated and misunderstood? Do you feel not taken care of, lacking the ability to really share what you want, or keeping everything surface level? Perfectionism is probably at play here.
What does perfectionism in relationships look like? You’re holding yourself and others to impossible standards and expectations instead of meeting them where they are and accepting what love they do have to give you. If you ask a friend for some quality time and it ends up being a group hangout, though you wanted a one on one, you may feel internally ungrateful for that time because you EXPECTED them to realize you wanted to be one on one catching up. Perfectionism is receiving a gift for your birthday from a friend that you don’t really like, so you thank them anyway but feel resentful that they don’t understand your taste. Perfectionism is when i you go to someone for support, but leave feeling like nothing’s changed, or you didn’t hear what you needed instead of feeling appreciative that they leant an ear.
Sometimes we have expectations of ourselves to make a certain choice, feel like we should experience a specific milestone in our lives, or even feel like we have to interact with someone else in a particular way. When you let go of that expectation and accept your capacity for love in the moment, it creates much more space to connect in a wholehearted way. Great, loving relationships aren’t about looking or being a certain way. They are about allowing your love and the love of the other being to seep into your heart regardless. Giving yourself the permission to be imperfect in those moments where you are connecting gives you a way to feel lighter and have more ability to connect to the other person in a loving way. You create a flow of love and joy between you instead of blocking the love through perfectionism.
Here are a few ways to let go of perfectionism and step into a more loving space within your most intimate relationships.
Take a deep breath, connect your body and mind to the present moment. Don’t get caught in your head because that is the seat of perfection - and your heart is the seat of love. Focus a slow, deep inhale to the space in between your collar bones (you can even rest your right hand there gently to help with the breath). This also helps to clear your mind and shift your attention away from your frustration or expectation.
Mantra of gratitude
Mantras have a connotation of being spiritual, although they don’t have to be. Mantras are simply a short, present phrase to repeat to yourself in order to shift your perspective in the moment. You can create your own, or use one like “I practice gratitude” or “I love my imperfections” - even “Imperfection is perfection.” The goal here is to acknowledge what you’re feeling in the moment - if you’re feeling perfectionism take hold, accept that it’s ok, temporarily. Recognize it instead of pushing it away, and gently nudge your mind towards allowing the feeling you truly desire to replace it - love, recognition, understanding, etc.
Amusement, joy and humor are powerful tools to bring you back into your heart. Can you laugh at a misunderstanding between friends? What is humorous about how the “wrong” gift showed up for you? Can you recognize the absurdity of your expectation? Making a joke around a serious situation is sometimes the best way to release tension and truly see a situation differently instead of holding tightly onto your perception of it.
Do you recognize perfectionism showing up for you in your relationships? Do you need help finding amusement within a frustrating connection? I offer you a 30 minute session to help clear some of this tension so you can have more fun. Reach out here.