Releasing from Perfectionism Mindset.

Releasing from Perfectionism Mindset.

So I was at a recovery meeting the other day and an individual shared something that struck a heavy chord with me about Perfectionism.

What was shared sparked the realization that my brain tended to get stuck in a state of Perfectionism. Meaning, a state, that while I am in it, I am constantly judging reality based on an ideal in my own brain. That and when the ideal is not met, the world is not okay. At least the world from this perspective anyways!

But our perspectives have a way of blurring what is going on in the real world. They can also be blurring the fact that the world may be perfect just the way it is.

Wandering through life in a perfectionistic state like this can make life very painful. A life where hardly anything seems good enough does not lend itself to having healthy relationships. Since this Perfectionism doesn’t seem to just be pointed at ourselves, we hold others to our standards as well.

I don’t know about you but this State of mind and not being in the moment has also done immense damage to my mental and emotional health over the years. What is really a trip is that as I look back on my life, even recently, I seem to be on autopilot while acting out on it.

Waking up to perfectionism.

As I said the state perfectionism I get into tends to live on autopilot. Meaning that i am generally not aware that I am doing it!

But as I look back on my past and sometimes still today, I find a ton of evidence for my more perfectionistic side.

Here are some of the clues that we may be stuck in Perfectionism:

  • Having the feeling that something I just accomplished just wasn’t good enough.
  • Not having a healthy sense of pride for productive skills.
  • Being overly critical of something not completed exactly right.
  • Also Being overly critical of something done well.
  • Having the feeling of being a failure even when things are going well.
  • Setting to high of standards for what other people are attempting.
  • Not offering up enough healthy praise for jobs done well by ourselves or others.

For the sake of this article I am not so worried about the why this problem came to be a problem. We cannot do much about the past except do well for our present.

I realize that on a bad day, there isn’t much of anything that I will perceive as good enough. This isn’t right, that isn’t right, they aren’t right, life isn’t right.. There must be some ideal that I am connected to and absolutely everything is missing it’s mark. This can set off a cascade of disappointment, anger, or possibly self-pity.

Thankfully today I can feel when this is happening and do something about it. For many years I didn’t have a clue!

The Stress of Perfectionism

Perfectionism Stress

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

There is an important place for being rigorous in getting things done well. I also believe that there is a place for pushing ourselves and other people to work hard to do well for what we collectively set out to do.

But after a certain point, the rigor and pushing for a certain outcome turns into a pushy and unhelpful cause of unneeded stress. Maybe it will get something helpful done, but is all that stress worth a maybe? That is a conclusion we all need to come to for ourselves.

We may push people to do what they don’t care about. As well as attach ourselves to ideas that we believe we are supposed to care about, but at our cores we don’t.

Not believing in what I am working for is stressful. And so is trying to push others to work hard for what they don’t believe in, at least when they won’t follow the plan and be obedient!

So what is the answer here, just sit back and not challenge ourselves or others to become more skilled? Absolutely not.

Letting Go of Perfectionism

Perfectionism is about control. There is something in a Perfectionistic brain that seems to like having things just so!

Letting Go Perfectionism

Photo by Robert V. Ruggiero on Unsplash

We have to find ways to let go of this control. That is,unless you are perfectly alright with beating yourself up! As well as harming relationships because they aren’t interested in following WHAT WE PERCIEVE to be the correct path.

I get it though, we desire what is best for the people that we care about, and yes this includes ourselves. It may hurt to let go, because we are invested in a way that may have once worked.

But the truth is that if we are willing to ease up on our Perfectionism, a better way will likely present itself.

There are a few questions we can ask ourselves to put the whole situation into a better perspective.

  • Am I working towards something that actually matters to me?
  • Do the people I am pushing actually want what I want?

These questions require honest self-reflection, to find out what we really desire. As well as some thoughtful conversations to find out what our relationships desire.

It takes some work, but ultimately could lead to using our and our relationships time and energy more effectively. This means more productivity and less resentment.

From Perfectionism to Realistic Perspective

If after reflecting and communicating you find that you are pushing for what you desire and others are on board, then awesome. I recommend spending time giving ourselves and those in our sights more compliments than criticisms.

This helps me from being too harsh and inflexible, allowing me let go and trust the innate intelligence of the people I surround myself with.  It also helps me stay in reality instead of locked into rigid ideals, which is a much more enjoyable state for everybody!

But… Sometimes our relationships have no desire to buy into our visions anymore. It may be a hard pill to swallow. This takes grieving on our parts, so that we don’t get caught in a cycle of anger, self pity and resentment.

Here are some of my personal resources If you need some help to let go. Mind you that using them does not guarantee results for you, but have helped me immensely over the last 9 years in recovery from my own issues.

 Tips for Grieving Ideals and Getting Back into Proper Perspective

  1. Surrender our thoughts and come back to the moment.
  2. Work on getting over disappointment.
  3. Do some Therapeutic Writing.
  4. Work on developing healthy expectations.
  5. Get priorities in order

I hope this article may help you ease up on rigid ideals you may be forcing on yourself and others.

In the end our relationships with ourselves and others benefit by our pushing for ideals that we all truly find important!

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Much Love,

Travis Hagen



















I can Accomplish Anything, and so can You!


Being a first time parent had me thinking that it would be next to impossible to accomplish many things!

Being that baby is here who needs lots of attention. In the last month I have proven this to be wrong.

It turns out that I have survived motherhood since my husband has gone back to work! Like I had worries about in my last article. What a transition!

She keeps me busy, challenges me, and fills my heart so full of love.

I enjoy every second with her, even when she squirts poop all over me. With anyone else’s kid I probably would have been completely disgusted, but I found myself laughing when she did this. My whole world has changed.

I have survived bringing her to recovery meetings with me even though I was terrified of anyone touching her (I know over protective mother), carried on through the nights and days even though I really want to sleep. Also, I have made it through some hard emotions and have cried a lot.

One of the most challenging parts for me is finding the balance between being a parent, recovery, and staying connected with others. Maintaining balance is crucial for my mental health.

But, the thing is I have made it through. I CAN, AND AM DOING IT.


I want to backtrack a bit for a clearer understanding on why this is such a profound thing for me. Although being a parent is a profound thing for everyone, I feel there is a deeper reason for these feelings.

Currently I am six years clean. I have spent this time building up my life to what it is today. But, there was a point before I got here that I couldn’t have imagined this life for myself. I remember quite vividly the moment in active addiction when I settled for the life that I had.

There I sat outside on my step smoking a cigarette (I quit 5 years ago) thinking about all the things that I would NEVER accomplish in my life. I thought that I would never stop using, go to college, get married (or be in a healthy relationship for that matter), have a safe home, or have a family of my own. These are all things that I deeply wanted to accomplish while when I was younger.

This was such a horrible and sinking feeling, and the saddest part is that I was accepting it!

I was doing the best with what I had. What I had wasn’t much and there were many of things that I needed to learn. I was such a broken person and I broke everything around me as well.

What I didn’t know is that I could find a new way to live. Sure, I tried to “stop” using one drug or the other thinking that it might help solve some problems, but I could never fathom the idea of quitting them all.

Not admitting that I had a problem or knowing that I could accomplish living a better life kept me sick for a long time.

After going to court on several occasions, good things finally started to happen. The judge finally sent me to treatment for addiction. At the time I thought it was ridiculous. There was a part of me wanted that safety. I was finally going to get away from the life that I hated living.

I stayed for several months in a facility in Fargo, ND. It was the best thing that had happened to me in years.

I started a new life clean while discovering who I really was. This is when all those things I settled for never having started to happen. The longer I stayed clean the better my life became.

I went to college, met my husband, got married, bought a house, and had a child. All of this became possible because the recovery program I attend showed me that I could get clean, stay clean, and find a new way to live.

It might sound funny but, I am grateful for everything that has ever happened to me. All the trauma that I went through and all that I did lead me to where I am now. Had things been different who knows if I would be here today.

I didn’t choose to be an addict. Some days I feel that it chose me. I am here to make a difference now. Even if I only touch one person’s life I know that I have done enough.

The point is, is that I did it. I got through it all and came out on the other side.

I believe that no matter what happens in life we can always move forward and do the things we think are impossible.

Maybe you are not an addict like myself, but of course we all go through our own hardships. If you are working through a tough time, please take note of a few things!

  1. There is a way through the pain!
  2. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for the things you have accomplished and the steps you are taking and have taken to get there.
  3. Remember that you are worth it and never forget that.

Thanks for taking a few minutes out of your day to read this! Feel free to share this post with others. I hope you all have a great day!

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