The perfectionism in my Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) reared its head at an early age. I wanted people to like me. When I said the wrong thing, I beat myself up in my head, asking the age-old perfectionistic question, “Why did you say that? You sounded so stupid!” I wanted to have straight As, and when I graduated from college, my degree had summa cum laude on it — only Very High Honors came at a price. I figured that my way was the only correct way, which I’m sure made others not want to work with me, much less have a conversation with the girl who thought she knew everything. Because she had to be perfect of all the time.
My perfectionism was out of control, and I needed to get it in check so I could be happy. So, I started reading and researching. I sought professional help. I started to own up to my OCPD and realize its strengths and weaknesses. (Let’s be honest, my OCPD has given me great success very early in life, despite sometimes sacrificing my sanity for it and its compulsions).
Here are some ways I accept imperfection. Coming from a perfectionist, this is no easy feat. These ways could also help you, too, as you embark on your own version of an enriched life without the rigidity of perfectionism constantly standing in your way:
Learn to realize that imperfection is just as awesome as perfection.
Our minds like to play tricks on us, telling us we don’t deserve things or that someone doesn’t like us. The sooner you accept your quirks, the sooner you will be happier and will become the best version of yourself that you can possibly become. For example, I am planning my upcoming May wedding. I have had to rework some of my thinking with regards to every little detail of the ceremony and reception. Will people actually notice all of the printed materials’ fonts and exact shades of red? Probably not. Separate yourself from your thoughts to work through logic. I rule with emotions, so this is more challenging for my brain.
For me, this is a no-brainer. I’m a writer anyway, so this comes naturally to me. I write about everything, from my fears to my most treasured moments. I keep journals for my personal writings, as well as goal-oriented journals for the professional and personal facets of my life. When I travel, I keep separate journals to record my experiences. Nothing is more therapeutic than sitting down and writing something.
Talk with someone.
This is sometimes easier said than done. When we are obsessing about thoughts and then carrying out related compulsions, we may not have the mental strength to ask for help. This is normal and part of the process. Begin to ask for help a little at a time. Talk with someone close to you, like a significant other. This really helps me because I talk to my fiancé. Somehow, he knows the ins and outs of my brain and can help me feel better, even when my OCPD is out of control. If you’re not comfortable talking with someone around you, read some articles on betterhelp.com about how treatment could be a good thing for you. Plus, you can talk with a mental health professional online at your convenience to help you work through any mental health issues you may have.
Relaxation is key.
When you have OCPD, you probably have difficulty with relaxation. Your brain won’t stop spinning, and that works its way to your muscles. You can’t sit still. Try your best to relax. It’s one of the best forms of therapy. Try a meditation exercise or practice yoga. Do activities that clear your mind. Focus on your strengths and how your weaknesses can be viewed as silver linings and learning experiences. Take deep breaths and be sure to take a few moments to recover it your OCPD is overtaking your mind and actions.
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