4 ways to ease Perfectionism: Are you enjoying the present moment?
How many times do you hear friends telling you how excited they are about the future but complaining about how miserable their current lives are? As much as I want to share their joys and pains with them, I couldn’t help but wonder what would go through their heads when they were experiencing such a sea of emotions on a daily basis.
Although there were many reasons they could not enjoy the present moment, they all boil down to one thing — perfectionism. Despite having enough to live a more than comfortable lifestyle, they constantly complain about the shoddy lifestyle they lead.
One of the reasons they aren’t enjoying their present moment is because of their struggles to keep up with their expectations. They may believe that their lives are not good enough, partially because they see the surrounding people as making them feel that way, and they always desire to pursue something better.
Whether it is a luxurious lifestyle or being recognized for their contributions in their career, they will always look for ways to meet their expectations. This can make them fearful of not living up to their expectations and makes them dread discussing it.
The opposite is also true, that it could be due to them wanting to gain more control over their lives, and that it could only happen in the future. Having to work towards the uncertain future affects how we perceive the way we spend our time.
It ends up distorting how we feel about the present moment and making us not want to appreciate it. Because the events will take place in the future, it does not guarantee that they will turn out the way we expected.
For instance, Sally was expecting to leave her current job that was not paying her at the market rate, but she enjoyed working with her colleagues on various financial projects with global markets exposure.
However, another private equity firm recruiter approached her with a 20% pay bump and promised her a better remuneration package. She was pondering whether to stay with her current employer or to move on to the new one since she was concerned about job satisfaction more than salary.
While she often complained about her salary, it affected the way she felt as it resulted in her wanting to fight for promotion in her current company. Will she wish to leave her current firm for the new one or will she want to fight for promotion?
While none of the options will make her happy, one thing is certain: she will not enjoy her current job at all. Even with a pay raise, there was no guarantee that she would be as satisfied as she had been before. Therefore, there is no way to control how the outcome will turn out, but you can choose to change how you perceive it.
Stop planning too much
Having a plan is great, but if it’s too detailed, it could throw you off if you don’t achieve what you set out to do. It is a reality that you have little to no control over your actions even if you follow a plan diligently.
It can be comforting to know what you have to do next, but it will be devastating if you cannot accept failures.
Instead of planning too far in advance, make an effort to plan one or two steps ahead and visualize how it can help you achieve your short-term goal.
Stop having high expectations of yourself
Setting our expectations for ourselves is normal as we humans want to have a goal to work towards. Having too high expectations without being able to meet them can be suffocating at times. It can make you feel insignificant when you are working towards your goals but feel that you are making little to no progress at all.
If you have such thoughts going through your head, you will feel miserable living through the days even when you are hard-working. If you are not meeting your own expectations, it may be time to reflect on how you want to live your life when you have a lifetime ahead of you.
Stop worrying too much
It is very difficult to stop worrying when someone asks you as if it is as easy as putting a cork to the wine bottle. When we spend too much time worrying about things, we end up missing out on the present moment, even when we try to focus on the little things every day.
Even though it is okay to worry about things from time to time, worrying too much makes you feel more stressed than when you know you can’t do anything about it. When you focus less on worry and instead focus on the present moment, you may feel better.
Stop comparing yourself to others
While social media is catching up to us, it is easy to get into the comparison game. When you work hard and your efforts do not pay off, you may feel that others have it easier than you. You worry about your own progress when you compare yourself to others, and you wish to escape your current situation.
You may feel more depressed than before thinking about it, and nothing seems to fill your mind. Never allow anyone to undermine your self-worth or self-esteem; you will always be your own competitor.
While there is nothing wrong with having a lot on your plate, you must not let it hinder you from enjoying every moment of the day. In retrospect, I realized that I have always been looking forward to the future and hadn’t appreciated the little moments in my life.
To my current self, take one step at a time and enjoy the process rather than the outcome.
About The Author:
Vince Law is an Accountancy graduate from Singapore Management University. Having a keen eye for numbers and a bent for problem-solving, he is currently working as a business consultant at one of the Big 4 Accounting firms, focusing on both consulting and assurance. During his free time, he writes on topics related to personal development and current affairs through his lens.
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