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Ep #136: Overcoming Perfectionism: Embracing Imperfections and Finding Freedom Post-Divorce



Do you consider yourself a perfectionist? You may be surprised by what a perfectionist actually is. Don't miss this episode where I debunk the misconceptions surrounding perfectionism and shed light on how being a perfectionist could be limiting your potential. I'll talk about three risks of having perfectionist beliefs and how to find your way out from being a perfectionist.


In the episode you'll earn about the beauty of embracing your existence, flaws and all, and how to identify and manage your perfectionist tendencies. Let's journey together towards self-acceptance and the freedom that comes with understanding your worthiness, leading to a more fulfilling life post-divorce. It's time to rediscover yourself, free from the chains of perfectionism.


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List to the full episode:


Grief and trauma are the two biggest struggles women deal with as they go through their divorce. It's highly likely that you are experiencing both and don't even realize what you're feeling. I'm here to tell you that it's okay for you to grieve your marriage (even if it was shitty) and it's normal to be experiencing some kind of trauma (which is essentially a disconnection from yourself - your mind, body and soul). I can help guide you through the grief in all of the forms it show up so you can heal. I can also teach you how to ground yourself in healing so you can ease through the trauma. Schedule your free consult by clicking here.


Featured on this episode:

  1. Interested in the Divorce Betrayal Transformation? Learn more here.

  2. Are you lost and confused about who you are after divorce? Don't worry. I've got 51 Ways to Get to Know Yourself Again. Click here to download.

  3. Want to work first hand with Karin so you can stop worrying about what your life will be like after divorce, and instead begin making it amazing today? Click here to schedule a consult to find out more about working 1:1 with Karin as your coach.

  4. Haven't left a review yet? No problem. Click here to leave one.


Full Episode Transcript:

Hi, my friends, welcome back to the podcast you are listening to Becoming you Again, episode number 136, and I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Welcome to Becoming you Again, the podcast to help you with your mental and emotional well-being during and after divorce. This is where you learn to overcome the grief and trauma of your divorce. We're going to do that by reconnecting with yourself, creating lasting emotional resilience and living a truly independent life so that your life can be even better than when you were married. I'm your host, Karin Nelson. Hello, my lovely ladies, I am so happy that you are here today listening to the latest episode of Becoming you Again. I want to just jump right into today's episode where I'm going to be talking about perfectionism, because I think this is a topic that I can't remember if I've covered it before. If I have, I maybe talked about it here and there, but I don't think I've actually done like a whole episode really dedicated to the idea of perfectionism and why it can be so detrimental to us as women especially, but just as humans in general. And so let's talk about it right. What is perfectionism? Because I think sometimes we get confused about what a perfectionist actually is. It's very common to think that a perfectionist is someone who has like a perfect life right. Their house is always clean and they weigh the perfect weight and they have the perfect clothes and they dress beautifully and they're always put together and they're always on time and they work really hard in their relationships and their parenting skills and they're just really close to everyone around them. They just have a perfect life. That would make sense to most of us that those people are probably perfectionists. But if this is how you think about being a perfectionist, you would be wrong, and I'm going to explain why. What a perfectionist actually is is someone who is hyper aware of all of the things that are wrong in their life, while at the same time believing that there are people whose lives are actually perfect. This is perfectionist thinking. It's in believing that there is an actual reality where you or someone around you can achieve or has achieved this idea of perfection. So how do you know if you are a perfectionist? The idea of looking around at your life and realizing that it is not one of perfection doesn't mean that you are not a perfectionist. Let me say that again the idea of judging your life and realizing that your life is not perfection, that there's a lot of things wrong with it or there are some things wrong with it. It doesn't mean that you don't have perfectionist beliefs or ideas. In fact, a pretty good indicator of if you are a perfectionist is if you often think about your life and you are focused on everything that is wrong with your life and everything that is good about everyone else's. The idea that you want yourself and your life to be better because you are unworthy or not good enough just as you are. That is perfectionist thinking. Now don't get me wrong. It is totally good and fine to want to improve yourself or to want to improve something in your life, but do it because it sounds like it could be really cool to achieve that thing, or to see if you can do it, or to see if you can become this type of a person, whatever it is, but not because believing that if you do achieve that thing or if you do create that thing in your life, that will somehow help you go up a rung on the worthiness ladder. So where I normally see perfectionist thoughts in women who are divorcing is in things like their relationship or in their parenting, for example. In the relationship, often the thinking is well, if I had only been better or smarter, or if I cleaned more often or made dinner on time, or I was a better lover or had sex more often, then my life would be better, my marriage would have been better. Or they'll think something like I'm definitely going to take those traits that I wasn't good enough in my marriage into my new relationship because that will make that relationship better. Or with the idea of parenting, it's often something like well, if I could only be more present with my kids, or a better mom, then I could tell myself that I'm a good enough mom and then my kids would be happier, we get along better, or we'd have a better relationship, our life would be that much better. Or if I could only stop yelling at my kids, then I could tell myself that I'm a good mom and my kids would be happier and everything would be good. So where does this root idea of perfectionism even come from? And I've already kind of touched on it, I've talked about it a tiny bit but it comes from this belief that there is something inherently wrong with you. You're just not good enough in some way, or you're just not worthy enough in some way, and so you need to change in order to be enough or in order to be worthy. But I'm gonna talk about some of the risks of this perfectionist thinking or being a perfectionist, because I think this is where we get confused and I want to point out some of the risks. There are more than what I'm gonna point out, but these are some of them, and then I'm gonna tell you what the answer is to working on your perfectionist beliefs. So risk number one is you may find yourself procrastinating doing things if you have perfectionist thinking, and the reason you procrastinate is because you will have some thoughts along the lines of well, whatever I do won't be good enough, or you'll think, well, I just don't even know how to do that and so I'm just not gonna do it at all, or I'm gonna wait until my anxiety kicks in so much that I just can't not to do it. And what's really fascinating is that I have had clients and I have had women who tell me that they want to get a divorce, that they have wanted to get a divorce for years and, honestly, I was in the same boat. So I don't want you to think that you're alone If you're thinking this way. I totally understand and know what this feels like To be in a marriage and to have been thinking for years even I want out of this marriage, I want a divorce, but you just can't seem to follow through with it. Often these women will come to me and they will feel stuck, they will feel confused, and it comes back to this idea that we are procrastinating moving forward with the divorce process, which could be an indicator of perfectionist thinking, because often it will be something like well, I don't know what the process is of divorce. It kind of seems like a lot of work, maybe there's a lot of steps, it's very uncertain and so it might just feel better, feel easier to stay where I'm at and just hope that it will get better. And this idea of procrastination, this idea of deciding to stay in the marriage longer than what you maybe internally desire, can feel very overwhelming. And this actually leads to the next risk of perfectionist thinking, which is inaction or becoming apathetic to things. I remember for many, many years in my marriage I felt very apathetic, which basically means I didn't want to feel anything at all, so I just pretended like I didn't feel. My feelings were kind of numb or muted because I didn't even want to allow myself to feel my actual emotions. But it shows up in inaction as well, because when you are constantly focused on all of the ways that you should be better, or your life should be better, or it would be so much better if I was out of this marriage, those thoughts don't actually cause motivation. What they actually do is cause overwhelm because you can't see a way out or it seems too hard or too scary, and then you feel exhausted and heavy because you're being weighed down by all of these emotions that you're pretending not to feel in the first place. And so to go back to that example of staying in the marriage far longer than what you're desiring or wanting, even though you may be having fantasies, often about what your life would be like outside of the marriage, or thinking about how much better you would feel about yourself or how much better your life would be if you were divorced, the subconscious mind that you're not quite aware of is most likely saying but where do we start? We have to get a lawyer and we have to find a new place to live, and then we have to get therapists for the kids so that this doesn't ruin their lives, and then we have to fill out all of this paperwork, we have to get a new bank account, we have to have tough conversations. And then what about the cars? How do we change the titles? And then it seems like I'm going to have to have a lot of tough conversations with my soon to be ex and with the kids, and with family and with friends, and then I'm going to feel a lot of heavy emotions, and then I'm going to have to probably deal with a lot of angry emotions from my ex, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And how in the hell am I going to handle all of that? That's going on in our subconscious mind, right? And then all of that feels very overwhelming and instead of motivating you to just start somewhere, start anywhere, because we all know we don't do all of those things all at once, that would just be ridiculous. So, consciously, we don't understand that, and the perfectionist in us decides to just do none of it, because there is an underlying belief that, even if you do start, you're probably not good enough or smart enough to make the right decisions for you moving forward. And so why even start in the first place? Or it's definitely too hard and it's going to cost too much money and it's going to be too difficult and it's going to take forever to reach that idea of what we have as the perfect life outside of our marriage. So why even start? And this idea of perfectionism, in creating procrastination and then creating inaction and apathy, then leads to another danger of being a perfectionist, and that is pessimism, when you're continually believing that things could be better, or you even personally could be better. But why try, because you're actually never going to get there. That is a pessimist attitude and it will seep into your everyday life and into your everyday thinking and it will show up in everything you do. This pessimistic attitude about life and about who you are then morphs into outside comparison that everyone else's life is perfect and yours isn't. And when you believe that it's what your brain will look for constantly to prove to yourself that it's true and this happens, even though you may logically know that it's not true, that nobody's life is perfect, right your brain will continue to use cognitive bias, because that's what our brains do. Our brain always wants to be right. Our brain always wants to prove to us that what we're thinking is actually right, and so it will look for evidence around you that everyone else's life is perfect and yours isn't. So what's the answer then? What is the answer to overcoming a perfectionist's brain or perfectionist's belief, if it's not to actually be perfect? The answer is to accept yourself and your life and the imperfections that come along with it. It's recognizing that, understanding that we, as humans, we don't even really know what perfection looks like, because perfection isn't actually achievable in any kind of objective sense. Perfection is a very subjective idea of something that is actually objectively unattainable. What's perfection to one person could be and most likely is not perfection to another person. So learning to accept that you will always have imperfections and then letting that be okay, that's the answer. It's understanding that even if you were to achieve quote unquote perfection, your brain would still most likely tell you that what you're doing or where you're at isn't enough, and that you better keep pushing for more to achieve that next perfection ideal, that next perfection goal, that next idea of what perfection is. Because your brain, my brain, all of our human brains, even in all of their glory and intelligence, doesn't have an objective measurement for what perfection actually is. So how do we even know what to shoot for? So the answer is work on accepting your life and yourself as they are, with all of their imperfections, and then loving yourself and seeing yourself as worthy just because you exist. Kind of think about it the way you think about your pets, if you have pets. We love our pets just because they exist, just because they are. We don't expect them to pick up after themselves. We don't expect them to clean up the throw up when they throw up or clean up the dog poo in the backyard. We don't expect them to take care of us when we are feeling sick. We just love them for who they are, for what they are, and I truly believe that that is a great goal to have for yourself to learn to love and accept who you are, for existing, for being human, for being here, and to allow yourself to leave the perfectionist beliefs in the past. I believe this is possible. I believe it's something that each of us can truly get better at. I know the more I work on myself and I work on recognizing where my perfectionist ideas and tendencies show up and then opening myself up to the imperfection of it all and being okay with that, the better off I am, just as a human, and I know that it can be possible for you too. All right, my friends, thank you so much for listening, for being here. I love you. Have a beautiful week. I will talk to you soon. Hi, friend, I'm so glad you're here and thanks for listening. I wanted to let you know that if you're wanting more, a way to make deeper, more lasting change, then working one-on-one with me as your coach may be exactly what you need. Together, we'll take everything you're learning in the podcast and implement it in your life, with weekly coaching, real life practice and practical guidance. To learn more about how to work with me one-on-one, go to KarinNelsonCoaching dot com. That's wwwKARINNELSONCoaching dot com. Thanks for listening. If this podcast agreed with you in any way, please take a minute to follow and give me a rating wherever you listen to podcasts and for more details about how I can help you live an even better life than when you were married. Make sure and check out the full show notes by clicking the link in the description. Thank you.

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