It is necessary for us to embrace our vulnerabilities for grounding ourselves
In my clinical practice, it is common for perfectionists to seek help from me due to various reasons. For instance, a lady could not accept herself making mistakes at work and engage in repetitive checking before sending out emails to colleagues. Due to her perfectionism, she also had severe problem in procrastination. As a result, she was poorly evaluated in her performance appraisal in her job. She had high level of anxiety whenever she was working in the office. Paradoxically, the more she tried to avoid mistakes, the more anxious she became and the more mistakes she made. How could she step out from this vicious cycle and be more grounded in her work and her daily life?
In one of our therapy sessions, we discussed about her tendency to criticise herself whenever she made a mistake. During our discussion, she suddenly showed much distress and told me that she felt so shameful about being so critical to herself. In fact, it is this non-acceptance of vulnerability perpetuates her vicious cycle. Her never-ending self-criticism and avoidance of facing her vulnerability becomes the obstacle of the therapy.
In reality, everyone of us is imperfect. Even for those who appear to be very successful, have vulnerabilities and weaknesses. For those with procrastination, it is apparent that they want to achieve perfect outcome in their job. Due to this, they never started doing their job or executing their plans. To embrace our vulnerabilities, we need to let go of our wish to have full control on the outcome and be able to accept we all make mistakes from time to time. We also need to accept that we have much unknown in our lives. The more we can accept we are vulnerable, the more grounded and calm we become.
Being more humble is also beneficial as we accept that we are not omnipotent. This humility cultivates greater self-awareness. We can be more open to new ideas and our external environment. This facilitates our personal growth to become stronger and more flexible. In fact, showing some of our vulnerabilities to others also increase trust and connection in relationships. When we are able to let others get in touch with our vulnerabilities, others will see us as a more holistic human being.
If we can embrace our vulnerabilities more, we would feel less anxious in our daily lives. Since we do not care about how others perceive us, we will have less pressure in covering up our flaws and to be our authentic self. We are less likely to feel anxious when we engage in our work or daily activities. We will definitely be more grounded.
As a clinical psychologist, I also am imperfect and have lots of weaknesses. It is also important for me to remind myself to embrace my own vulnerabilities and not be afraid to show them to others sometimes. Let us work on our own perfectionism despite the collective value of being successful and highly competent exists in our society.