How to overcome perfectionism

How to overcome perfectionism

A theme that comes up in conversations with my clients very often is perfectionism. It’s so common that it seems to me that pretty much everyone suffers from it, including myself.

We weren’t born perfectionists. We became ones when, as children, we formed the belief that in order to receive love and acceptance from our caregivers, we had to meet certain performance standards, whether this was true or not.

We started believing that our worthiness was derived from what was outside ourselves and our self, as it was, wasn’t enough. We used perfectionism as an antidote for our shame-based thinking that had convinced us we were innately flawed.

As adults later on, we unconsciously replaced the role of our caregivers with the ‘Inner Critic’ in our head telling us that no matter how hard we try, no success or performance will ever be enough.

People often ask me how they can tell the difference between the voice of the Inner Critic they should ignore and our own, authentic voice we need to listen to.

The Inner Critic voice is often the loud one. It’s made up of automatic & repetitive thoughts that keep coming up, and reveal the areas of our lives that have been affected most by shame.

In my case, the theme of belonging would constantly come up (and sometimes still does) because the belief I had formed as a child was that no matter what I do, I will never belong. Perfectionism was the perfect cover up as it offered the illusion that if I am perfect, there will be no reason to not belong.

When we don’t heal our shame and always try to be perfect, we continue giving ourselves the same message we received as children – to belong, to be loved, we have to perform well. In other words, we engage in a shame-based loop & set ourselves standards that are impossible to reach, always ending up where we started & only to repeat the same cycles.

From experience, some of this information might trigger shame in some kind souls who’ve been through a lot. If you feel that way, remember that forming limiting beliefs as we grow up is a very natural mechanism that allows us to survive even in the most difficult circumstances. If today you identify as a perfectionist & feel ashamed of it or of anything else you had to become in order to survive, you’re not a loser or weak. You’re a miracle.

Now, how can you create space for your true voice to be heard? Start by building a simple routine that’s personal to you where you enjoy time with yourself only. Slow down either by meditating, deep breathing, or both. Once you’ve slowed down, ask yourself ‘what is my truth?’. See what response you’ll get. Write it down. Repeat as often as you can.

If you’re looking for writing prompts for inspiration, download a free copy of Your Life by Design Journal I’ve created for this reason here

Let me know what you think.

Love & grace,


Photo Credit: Hunters Race


Effie writes about and coaches people on Inner & Cultural Awakening helping them understand the connection between culture and our well-being, and build better lives based on a new self-awareness, while getting rid of biases that create separation between ourselves and others. She’s passionate about exposing the shame culture we live in and helping create one where everyone is and feels accepted, and the whole spectrum of human experience is normalised.

What’s holding you back from working on your dream projects

What’s holding you back from working on your dream projects

Is there a dream project that lives in your heart that you’d wish you’d started, built more momentum in or completed in 2019 but you didn’t?

If so, what is this dream project? Is it writing a book, creating more art, setting up a side business, opening a neighbourhood coffee shop? What is that your wild heart craves?

I know that it’s very easy to say that life can get in the way and doesn’t allow us to follow through and complete the projects that matter to us.

However, I must share with you something that I realised when I used to break promises I gave to myself when it came to my dream projects.

It wasn’t life that was getting in the way of getting them off the ground. 99 per cent of the time, it was me.

Why was that? Many reasons but the main one was self-betrayal. I didn’t listen enough to my inner voice and even when I did, I didn’t trust it enough to act upon it.

After sabotaging myself again and again, I realised my pattern and looked closer to it as I wanted to really understand why I didn’t prioritise the things that were important to me.

What I discovered were a few subtle but dangerous beliefs that compromised the quality of my life and dreams that were important to me:

  1. I’m not smart or important enough to go after my dreams – sooner or later, I will fail
  2. Members of my family that I love didn’t have a good life so I shouldn’t be happy either
  3. I’m ungrateful for wanting X, Y, X when I already have accomplished things that others would envy
  4. Following my dreams is a bit selfish when instead I can be spending time with my loved ones or looking after them
  5. My dream project is only important to me and this isn’t a big enough reason to go after it
  6. The quality of my work should be perfect, so I will start only when I have the time to do it
  7. Others believe that I’m crazy for wanting X, Y, Z so I should listen to them as they want the best for me

I’ve experienced all the above – some of them more than others, but all of them. What astonishes me as I coach other women and help them with going after their dream projects is that most of the times, they also hold beliefs that stall their progress without them realising it.

 So, my advice to you for 2020 and if you want to make real progress with the dream projects that matter to you is to ask yourself ‘What’s really holding you back’.

Did you have any ‘aha’ moments as you read the above beliefs that were holing me back and sometimes, they still try to do the same? What thoughts come in your mind every time you want to spend some time on your dream project or are about to take some action towards it?

Whatever comes up for you during those moments is most likely what’s holding you back, as you might tend to believe and take your thinking as true.

The good news about beliefs is that they’re just beliefs and you can always call them out. The moment we realise a belief isn’t a fact but just our thinking, it loses a lot of its power.

In the new year, give yourself the gift of choice over how to respond to your thinking. You don’t always have to believe your thoughts, especially the ones that are keeping you away from realising your potential and dreams that matter to you.

If you asked me to recommend a book that would help you, as a woman, stop betraying yourself and go after the things that matter to you in 2020, it’s ‘Women who Run with the Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estés. It changed my life and I hope it changes yours too.

Now, it’s your turn. What dream project have you been working on and want to spend more time on in 2020? What do you need to change, in your opinion, in order to do that? Is there a dream project you’d love to work on but haven’t started yet?

I’d really love to hear from you and, as always, if there’s anything I can help with, feel free to reach out to me here.

Love & cheese,