"I should have done better" says the perfectionist, over and over again.
I think back to 14 years ago when my perfectionism was at an all time high. Receiving a soccer scholarship worth around $100k, I felt incredible (self-imposed) pressure to justify the university's investment. Every day I gave my upmost effort to my studies, my fitness and my football. Every day I strove for perfection. Despite achieving almost perfect grades, I felt no satisfaction. Despite excelling in fitness tests, I felt no sense of achievement. I couldn't relax due to a deep fear eating away at me, the fear that time would run out and I wouldn't achieve all I wanted. Every day I struggled with perfectionism.
I am now doing my PhD in perfectionism and the process of overthinking (quite narcissistic as my other half points out).
There is quite a debate among researchers to whether perfectionism is positive or negative. What do I think? I believe that although you may achieve great success, that success is often a result of harsh self criticism and fear of failure. The success comes from trying really hard to achieve perfection (the A, the 100%, the flawless performance) but the feeling of satisfaction is fleeting and temporary. The satisfaction is quickly overtaken by the need to improve, the need to get better, and the need for perfection. When standards are not met, perfectionists will punish themselves for not being good enough.
Perfectionism is associated with various mental health issues including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and even suicide. I subscribe to the view that perfectionism is negative.
How does yoga help with perfectionism?
Yoga teaches progression; perfection is not possible, there is no tangible 'end result' which dictates success or failure.
Yoga focuses on being in the moment, on breathing, on being still. The deep inhales and exhales as your mind tunes into the adjustments of each postures help you stay mentally on your mat, allowing you to block out the worry and rumination that lurks there on a daily basis. By setting aside time each day to dedicate to yourself and your practice, you nurture your mind and body rather than fatigue it.
At Yogabomb, you are surrounded by accepting and positive people. Yoga has taught me to relax, to enjoy progression and to accept being perfectly imperfect.
"Buddha did not have a six pack"
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.