PsychologyToday.com explains that core "values are a set of attitudes, unique to each individual, which govern our behavior and guide the way we look at the world." Essentially, core values are the beliefs, ideas, and concepts that we have about ourselves and the world around us, that help steer us in the direction we would like our life to head.
On the contrary, perfectionism can often be rooted in the need to exceed expectations in a specific area or improve a skill or ability to the point that we feel that we can completely succeed at a particular task. And while it can be important to have goals and ambitions to work towards in life, reaching for perfectionism can also lead to heartbreak and immense amounts of stress, especially when we feel we are not achieving success to the best of our perceived ability.
“Core values serve as a lighthouse when the fog of life seems to leave you wandering in circles; when you encounter that moment where every decision is a tough one and no choice seems to clearly be the better choice.” ~ J. Loren Norris
Rather than seeking this often-times unrealistic goal of perfectionism, we can instead look at how we can expand on our internal strengths and beliefs, known as core values, as a way of achieving goals, learning new skills, and exceeding our own expectations without the pressures of performing our abilities to a perceived state of perfection. Basically, we are wanting to use our internal qualities to achieve something to the best of our ability.
First, let’s consider how we can identify your own personal core values. This task may involve a lot of inner work and encourage you to take a deeper look at your strengths, weaknesses, fears, hopes and dreams. It can be scary to do this at first, but also very enlightening throughout the process.
The closer you are willing to look within yourself, the more robust your core values can be that ultimately surface from this exploration, and the easier it will be for you to use these inner traits and beliefs in ways that help you to succeed in life.
Consider exploring your own core values by:
Once you have established a list of your core values, consider how these can be used to work towards your goals, or to help you achieve more in your everyday life. The desired outcome is not perfectionism; it is best to try with the skills and strengths you already have inside of yourself.
Take a moment to watch this short video on the topic of perfectionism and seeing others successes can trap us into thinking that we'll never be able to reach the same level of achievement because of our experience of failure (or the need to experience more failures) or the lack of success we have achieved for our own benchmarks.
As we grow and evolve as people, our core values may change over time, so you may want to identify your personal core values at different intervals of change throughout your life. Just as your goals and direction in life may change, the strengths within yourself are constantly changing and evolving over time. You may be surprised to learn what lies within yourself to help you accomplish and work towards your future self, without the weight of perfectionism crushing your spirit.
Additional Reading: How to Identify Your Personal Core Values
What has your biggest takeaway been from this article? Share in the comments below! Mine has been.. it's okay to fail, and even necessary to experience failure to make room for greatness in the future!
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