Perfectionism is not just good or bad. A perfectionist person is often ambitious and pays attention to detail. If you are a perfectionist person, you may continuously challenge yourself to progress and becoming the best version of yourself– that’s not a bad thing at all. Being focussed, but open to criticism helps you succeed at whatever your goals are. That’s where perfectionism spurs you on to try hard and do your best.
The negative impact of perfectionism
However, trying too hard or never feeling quite good enough is where perfectionism can have a negative impact and block any progression. If your main aim becomes to avoid making mistakes, you deprive yourself of many valuable learning opportunities. Reasons for this can be the desire for attention and approval by others or the need to feel more in control. Trying very hard to be perfect at something to cover up any self-doubts or because we are comparing ourselves to others, takes away the joy and lightness of learning and developing.
How healthy perfectionism can support you
Jessica sums it up: „Perfectionism can be curse and blessing at the same time.“ She says: „Healthy perfectionism helps us to evolve. Too much perfectionism can block me. To detach yourself from the opinions of others, can be a first step. Especially in horse riding, that’s difficult, sometimes even impossible. You can’t always keep out of the way of a negative environment. I think it’s important to keep a positive attitude. If you have a strong and resilient “mental immune system”, if you think positive, believe in yourselves and know your goals, you can bounce off the negative and focus more on yourself than on what others say about you. You have to set priorities. Then, keep an eye on the target and don’t look too much on either side. Don’t compare yourself to others too much and trust your own ability. Enjoy what you do and have fun on the way. Behave the way you would like to be treated by others, focus on your own goals and celebrate your achievements. You can set your goals high, but don’t raise your expectations too high. Know your limits, accept them and work on them in small steps. Forgive mistakes, learn from them and accept them as a part of your development. In training, I try not to get too hung up on details and not to analyse too much. That puts too much emphasis on the mistakes, and I don’t want “to get stuck” on mistakes. Instead, I always try to train by this motto: Don’t make things more complicated than what they are! Stop any self-doubts – they don’t get you anywhere. Focus on your strengths. For me personally, flexibility and relying on my own feeling here and now is also really important.“
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