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  • Writer's pictureAmelia Gillis, LMHC

Self-Compassion is Needed

We live in a culture that's obsessed with appearance and performance, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of perfectionism. We make a mistake and feel as though life has come to a halt. We become emotionally stuck living within our mistake/misstep. This cycle can lead to a decline in our mental healthy and how we perceive our lives and most importantly, ourselves.

Our perceptions impact us

A trait that many of us have held on to is perfectionism. It could be that perfectionism manifested as self-imposed, others imposed, or even socially prescribed. Either way, the manifestation of this trait means that we set impossibly high standards for our-

selves and sometimes for others, and we believe that we should achieve our goals effortlessly

and never make mistakes, have flaws, or be disagreeable. We consider anything less than

perfect unacceptable and feel distressed when people (ourselves and others) don’t live up to

our expectations. our standards are unrealistic and unattainable, even with hard

work, perfectionism is a losing proposition. It ultimately makes us feel worse rather than


The Battle

Due to our standards being unrealistic and unattainable, even with hard work, perfectionism is a losing proposition. It ultimately makes us feel worse rather than better.

Under the root of perfection, there is likely a sense of inadequacy and insecurity.

According to perfectionism researchers P. L. Hewitt, G. L. Flett, and S. F. Mikail, “The central

focus of most perfectionists is on the needs to perfect the self and to correct or hide aspects of themselves that they see as imperfect” (2017, 23–24). They describe these strivings as an attempt to overcompensate for our perceived imperfections, and this makes it impossible for us to enjoy our successes and accomplishments (Martin, S.).

Perfectionism is an attempt to prove that we are secure, adequate, and in control.

Perfectionists based their self-worth on performance and achievements. This means there is no room for setbacks, mistakes stick, that eventually damages our self-esteem and leave us feeling worthless or even incompetent.

The battle that rages within is that we only way we feel valued or worthy is by achieving, winning, and being flawless.

Embrace Imperfections

It is important to recognize that imperfections are not short-comings but that they are a natural part of being human.

If you want to find freedom from unhealthy thinking errors, thoughts of not being enough, and stop comparisons that hold you back. I challenge you to begin "allowing imperfections". This is the first step towards trusting the process of your growth.

Practice Self-Compassion

Kristin Neff, PhD, author of the book Self-Compassion, identifies self-compassion as self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings –

Demonstrating self-compassion can be broken down into different parts: (1) self-kindness rather than judgment or criticism in the face of struggle; (2) recognition of our common humanity, meaning that we feel connected to, not isolated from, others in our shared struggles; and (3) mindfulness, so that we are aware of our feelings, but not minimizing or exag- gerating our pain (2011, 41). Using these three components, we can learn to treat ourselves with kindness and reap the rewards of self-compassion.

Practice Self-Forgiveness Self-forgiveness allows us to extend the compassion and grace to ourselves as we would extend to others. It allows us to accept our mistakes. It reminds us of our common humanity than eventually normalizes our mistakes. We all makes mistakes. This is not a reflection of our inadequacies. Be mindful that self-criticism is a barrier to self-forgiveness. Therefore, we must be mindful of the words we are saying to ourselves.

Forgiving ourselves doesn’t mean we disregard our mistakes or excuse our poor choices. On the contrary, forgiveness requires that we take responsibility for our actions and believe that compassion will allow us to move forward toward better choices (Martin, S.)

Self-forgiveness is a process. One that we must practice. However, step by step, we hope to learn from our mistakes and not define ourselves by them. This is self-forgiveness.

Forgiveness Affirmation:

"I did the best I could with what i knew to do." Therefore, I will learn from my mistakes/missteps, practice self-compassion, and self-forgiveness. I am becoming a better version of myself day-by-day. =


Martin, S. 2019. CBT Workbook for Perfectionism. California. New Harbinger Publications.

Neff, K. 2011. Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. New York: HarperCollins.


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