Contentment is a state of being happy and satisfied. It’s not the short-lived, excited kind of happy, it’s more like being peaceful and at ease. Feeling content means being satisfied with who you are, where you are, what you have and how far you’ve come. It’s not that you don’t have dreams, goals and ambitions, you’re just able to accept your current reality while trusting these other things will materialise too.
If you’re a perfectionist, contentment can be tricky. Rather than enjoying the present moment and feeling satisfied with your achievements, you’re permanently striving. It’s hard to feel content when you always think you can or should be doing better. Trying to reach your self-imposed high standards can also have a negative impact on your wellbeing. Stress and burnout, both common symptoms of perfectionism, are definitely barriers to contentment.
If you’re not constantly striving and always on the go, you may be struggling with procrastination. Not doing things because you’re afraid of doing them imperfectly is SUCH an uncontented place to be.
Perfectionism also goes hand in hand with people pleasing and imposter syndrome. When you’re a people pleaser, you’re always putting yourself last while trying to make others happy. When you live with imposter syndrome, you’re constantly doubting yourself and your place in the world.
On top of all this, perfectionists often feel guilty when they slow down or relax. It’s hard to experience moments of contentment when self-care and self-compassion make you feel uncomfortable.
In very simple terms, these are the shifts many perfectionists need to make, the obstacles they need to overcome, if they want to experience more contentment:
As a recovering perfectionist myself, I know that change is possible. You can learn how to feel content! Here are some useful links and ideas to get you started:
Mindfulness helps us learn to live in the present moment, get out of our heads and start savouring the good moments. It also increases joy, happiness and appreciation, all of which contribute to feeling more content. My 8-Week Mindfulness for Modern Life course can teach you the skills you need and help you start incorporating them into everyday life.
Self-compassion is like a secret superpower you can use to silence your inner-critic, build emotional resilience and feel more content. Cultivating self-compassion can take practice, so don’t be surprised if it takes a while to master. Read How Self-Compassionate Are You?
Although people pleasers tend to be seen as kind and helpful, behind this agreeable façade, they often struggle to advocate for themselves. This can lead to a negative pattern of self-sacrifice or self-neglect, neither of which are conducive to feeling content. Read 3 Ways to Stop People Pleasing in Its Tracks.
Imposter syndrome is the chronic feeling of inadequacy and incompetence, despite success. There’s no need to feel like a phony or believe you don’t deserve the success you’ve achieved. Read 5 Ways to Beat Imposter Syndrome.
Your day should include nourishing activities, not just depleting ones. Remember to prioritise things that give you a sense of enjoyment, achievement and closeness to others. My freebie Mindfulness for the Modern Woman is the ultimate guide to less burnout and more balance in 7 days.
If you don’t feel the need to prove yourself, you’ll feel more at ease and content with who you are and what you’ve achieved so far. Read 5 Ways to Tackle Low Self-Esteem.
I regularly share support, information and advice for recovering perfectionists on my Instagram page, the.perfectionism.therapist, and via my fortnightly newsletter, Perfectly Imperfect. If you’re looking for a therapist you can book a free consultation with me here.