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Perfectionism: The Silent Sniper

How many of you think that perfectionism is a positive personality trait?

'I don't stop until it's perfect'

'I just can't be happy unless everything is perfection'

How many times did I hear (mostly women) make this comment with an undertone of pride... But then there is the other side of perfectionism that is usually the reason why they come to me in the first place: Feelings of anxiety. Stress. Burnout. Overeating. Not eating or not sleeping. Ruminating thoughts. A feeling of failure and depression.

Perfectionism, black and white thinking, and idealized images on social media have a profound impact on our self-image and mental health. They create unrealistic standards that can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Perfectionism is the belief that nothing less than perfection is acceptable. It's the idea that if you're not perfect, you're a failure. This type of thinking can lead to feelings of worthlessness and can make it difficult to feel good about yourself. Perfectionism can also lead to procrastination and avoidance of tasks, as the fear of failure becomes too great to face.

Another way to see the limitations of perfectionism is to see it as black and white thinking. It is the tendency to view things in extremes – everything is either good or bad, right or wrong. This type of thinking can make it difficult to see the shades of gray in life and can lead to rigid thinking patterns, leaving us panicking when something is somewhere in the middle

It can also lead to a lack of flexibility, making it difficult to adapt to new situations and challenges.

Social media is a powerful tool that allows us to connect with people from all over the world. However, it also has its downsides. One of the main issues with social media is the idealized images that are often portrayed. People post only the best versions of themselves, creating an unrealistic standard that can make us feel inadequate. The images we see are one-dimensional and static: it's never a complete picture. Often times we end up comparing ourselves to these 'perfect' images and compared to the imperfection we all feel, this can develop into feelings of inferiority, increasing anxiety and depression.

Moreover, social media often portrays a narrow and idealized view of what beauty is. This can lead to body shaming, self-esteem issues, and eating disorders. People start comparing themselves with the people they see online and try to achieve the same physical appearance, which can lead to a distorted self-image and harmful behaviors.

So, how can we combat these negative effects? The first step is to be aware of them. Recognize when you're engaging in black and white thinking or perfectionism and challenge those thoughts. Try to see the gray areas and find a more flexible approach. When it comes to social media, it's important to remember that what we see online is often not an accurate representation of reality. We need to be mindful of our social media consumption and limit our exposure to idealized images. We can also follow body-positive accounts that celebrate diversity and promote self-love.

In conclusion, the effects of perfectionism, black and white thinking, and idealized images on social media can be detrimental to our mental health and self-image. By recognizing these negative patterns and actively challenging them, we can develop a more realistic and compassionate view of ourselves and the world around us. In the end, there are three beliefs that are the root cause of most emotional problems we experience:

- I am not good enough

- I am different and can’t connect

- What I truly desire is out of reach, no matter what I do.

These negative beliefs about ourselves, who we are, what we are worth and what our relationship is with the outside world is, is a learned belief. We might not remember when we drew those conclusions, but they all center around self-worth, self-esteem and the perceived power we do or do not possess to achieve goals.

Increasing self-esteem can have a positive effect on perfectionism, as it can help you to view yourself and your achievements in a more positive light.

Here are some ways in which increasing self-esteem can help to reduce perfectionism:

· Increasing self-praise: Individuals with low self-esteem often engage in self-critical behavior, which can fuel perfectionism. By increasing self-praise, you can cultivate self-compassion, which can help to reduce perfectionism.

· Reframing the concept of failure: Perfectionism is often driven by a fear of failure or making mistakes. By reframing what failure actually means, what assumptions are made, and clearly distinguishing between what you DO (sometimes we all make silly mistakes) versus what you ARE (a decent person with a good heart) we can create some breathing space around so called failure, and hereby reducing the fear of it.

· Promoting self-acceptance: Perfectionism can lead to a constant striving for perfection, which can be exhausting and unattainable. By increasing self-esteem and promoting self-acceptance, you can learn to accept your imperfections and view yourself in a more positive light.

· Encouraging self-growth: Perfectionism can lead to a fixed mindset, in which we believe that our abilities and traits are fixed and unchangeable. By increasing self-esteem, we can develop a growth mindset, which encourages self-growth and development. In that space failing can be part of a learning experience.

· Promoting healthy coping strategies: Perfectionism can lead to unhealthy coping strategies, such as procrastination or avoidance. By increasing self-esteem, individuals can develop healthier coping strategies, such as problem-solving and seeking support from others.

Overall, increasing self-esteem can help to reduce perfectionism by promoting self-compassion, reducing the fear of failure, promoting self-acceptance, encouraging self-growth, and promoting healthy coping strategies. By viewing ourselves and our achievements in a more positive light, we can develop a healthier and more balanced approach to our goals and aspirations.

Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool for changing negative self-image by accessing the subconscious mind and rewiring negative thought patterns. The reason for hypnosis being so effective is that very often we are not aware of the deeply engrained beliefs we act on every day, and the self-censorship of the conscious mind will not let you reach to that deeper layer. The deeply relaxed state of hypnosis will lower that threshold, allowing someone to engage in emotional thinking rather than rational thinking.

Here are some ways in which hypnotherapy can help to change negative self-image:

· Uncovering the root cause: Negative self-image often stems from deep-seated beliefs that were formed in childhood or other past experiences. Hypnotherapy can help you to access these memories and beliefs, allowing you to process and release them. By addressing the root cause, you can begin to build a new and positive self-image.

· Reframing negative thoughts: Hypnotherapy can help you to reframe negative thoughts into more positive ones. By using guided imagery and positive affirmations, your hypnotherapist can help you to see yourself in a new and more positive light.

· Building self-confidence: Hypnotherapy can help to build self-confidence by accessing the subconscious mind and reinforcing positive beliefs about yourself. By visualizing yourself as confident and successful, you can begin to embody these qualities in your everyday life.

· Overcoming limiting beliefs: Hypnotherapy can help you to overcome limiting beliefs that are holding you back from achieving your goals. By accessing the subconscious mind, you can reprogram negative beliefs into positive ones, allowing you to move forward with greater confidence and self-assurance.

· Improving self-care: Hypnotherapy can help you to improve your self-care habits by promoting relaxation and stress reduction. By reducing stress and anxiety, you can improve your overall well-being and build a more positive self-image.

Overall, hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool for changing negative self-image by accessing the subconscious mind and rewiring negative thought patterns. By addressing the root cause of negative self-image, reframing negative thoughts, building self-confidence, overcoming limiting beliefs, and improving self-care. It can help you to build a new and more positive self-image, and hereby ending rigid perfectionism to rule your life.


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