Perfectionism is a response to fear. 

March 30, 2021

By Elaine Goldhammer MD

Elaine Goldhammer is a medical doctor who has practiced western medicine for 24 years. In  2018, she created Inner Freedom Therapy to help clients in a deeper and more meaningful way.  She is now the leading Hypnotherapist and Life Coach in West Chester, PA. 

Imperfections are beautiful

Being perfect is a dangerous idea.  Instagram filters may help us decide what perfect means, but of course, this is ridiculous.  And let’s be honest, most of us find the imperfections of life beautiful, the knobby tree, the weather-worn beach wood, the crease in your lover’s smile.  

We all have seen and have used perfectionism as an excuse not to show up.  We all know or have been perfectionists; The musician who practices for years and never performs, the artist who paints and never displays, the perpetual student who keeps paying for training but never creates the business or job they imagine.  This idea of never being good enough gets in the way of pursuing their dreams.  

 By practicing over and over again, it is your brain’s way of keeping you safe, of not doing the scary thing of putting yourself out there.

It is not easy to tell your brain to stop all the preparation.  Often we think we are doing the right thing by trying so hard all the time to “get it right.”   

Using the RTT method, hypnotherapy is magical to dig under and uncover what is holding my clients back.  

We also give the brain permission to let go and allow the individual to do something a little scary.  Being vulnerable is scary.  Sharing your inner-artist world with the world is not easy, but it becomes impossible if your brain is putting up walls against it.  Of course, hypnotherapy is not the only way to get there, but it can make it a lot easier. 

In adult life, failing is everything. 

If you are showing up, trying new things, not getting it right the first time, you live a fully human life.  Doing the bare minimum, and figuring out how to get the A, doesn’t feel good. Frankly, it gets kind of boring when you know you are phoning it in.  I wish we rewarded kids in school for getting C’s in the most challenging classes they could take.  Instead, we teach them to game the system, learn how to impress the teacher, take a test well, and ace the test.  We are teaching them that trying but failing is not good enough.

Are you ready to dive into more experiential learning?  Into failing in public on purpose? 

If you are a perfectionist, here are a few solutions to undo the fear of holding you back.  

  1. Fall in love with what you are creating.  Whether it is a project, a paper, a piece of music, a course you are making, a book you are writing, think of all the reasons you love what you are creating.  Dive into it once you are in love with it.  If you are NOT in a loving relationship with your project, ask yourself why you are pursuing it.  
  2. While you practice and prepare, be willing to show up with B + work.  (remember A+ is tedious and not worth the extra time it takes, get it out there before YOU get bored) 
  3. Invite others to enjoy the journey with you.  When you admit that you are learning, growing, and failing in public on purpose, others will cheer you on.  The people you want in your life are those who want to see you succeed.
  4. Often the people closest to you are your biggest detractors.  Love them, but ignore them.  They are trying to protect you from scary things, just like your brain is trying to protect you. 
  5. Learn the muscle of not caring about other people’s opinions. Just make sure you like it.   Not everyone is going to like you or what you created, and this is what you want.  Don’t create your art for the people who don’t like it. Make it for the people who are going to love it.  
  6. Don’t keep your art to yourself!  That is selfish!  Go ahead, be brave and share what you got with the world.  

How can Inner Freedom Therapy help?

If you would like to discuss this click to book a free consultation. 

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  1. Carmen

    This is a wonderful article. Very important! Thank you!

    • elaine

      Thanks Carmen! I am glad it spoke to you.

  2. David Walker

    Great article. Perfectionism as been the bain of my life wish I could relax and stop being so self critical.

    • elaine

      Thanks, David. I am so glad this reached you and helps. Share your art with the world! We want to see it.


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