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Irrational Idea 2: Feelings of Inadequacy

Click here for the introductory document in this series.

Irrational Idea #2:

“To be considered worthwhile, I should be smart, high-achieving and above average (or excellent) in all respects.”

This idea is irrational because:

  • Nobody’s perfect!
  • Constant comparison to others and other compulsions of the perfectionist cause undue stress. Life cannot be enjoyed when pressured to live up to impossible, self-imposed demands.
    • You may think that others are perfect without realizing that other people are also interested in covering their flaws and showing pride in their accomplishments.
    • No one is perfect in everything they do and in all aspects of life.
    • Fear of failure causes a fear to take chances. By avoiding risk and uncontrollable circumstances, you miss many learning opportunities.
    • A perfectionist’s rigid standards will cause them to believe mistakes are catastrophes. This brings feelings of worthlessness.

Rational Idea: “I will do the best I can and learn from my mistakes.”

Use these tips to feel better about yourself, and live a better life:

  • Do your best in all endeavors. If you fail, you have the satisfaction in knowing you’ve done your best—and that no one is perfect at all times.
  • Failure is a learning experience.
    • No matter how proactive you are, you can’t foresee every single possibility. Failure often occurs as a complete surprise. If you fail (or have a less than perfect outcome), realize that if you’ve failed, it doesn’t mean you are a failure.
    • With this attitude, you can freely engage in competition and recognizes the opportunity to learn from an opponent. Push yourself to achieve but don’t hate yourself if you are beaten.
    • Know that what you do should be for yourself—your personal gain—instead of being centered on gaining approval or beating/besting others.
    • Practice and hard work are necessary; you can’t expect to be perfect on the first try.

For a happy and emotionally healthy life, contact CrossRoads for counseling at 317-842-8881 if you are in the Central Indiana area. This series was inspired by and sourced from “A Guide to Rational Living” by Albert Ellis and Robert Harper.