You know the friend who always seems to be on the top of the world? Great job. Great relationship. Great hair. Steaming love life. You’d think they feel awesome about their life, right? But if you ask this friend if they’re happy, they might shrug, give you a little half-smile and say, “I guess.” This friend never seems to be satisfied. Nothing ever seems to impress them.
They always need to do better – to be better.
People like this are often called high achievers, perfectionists, or said to have Type A personalities. Both terms come with negative connotations to these words, though. Think back to your friend. Chances are s/he is always on the go, glued to their smartphone, overcommitted, and overwhelmed by all the roles and responsibilities. You can’t remember the last time they took time off.
Come to think of it…it kinda sounds like you, too.
On the surface, high achievers’ lives look great. But when you start to see the cracks when you push past their facades. They constantly run at 100%, and this amount of never ending stress takes a toll on the body. Eventually, high achievers mentally and physically break down when they can’t meet their self-imposed demands for perfection. Their self-esteem takes a nose dive, and they feel everything they’ve worked to attain is worthless.
Most high achievers have always had low self-esteem.
They overcompensated for their poor sense of self worth by doggedly pursuing success. It’s a result of learned behaviors and beliefs rooted deep into their past and the need for praise and approval. All children need and seek validation as a way of developing their sense of self worth. However, it turns up later in life when that need goes unmet in childhood. For many high achievers, this shows up as the pursuit of professional, financial, and material success. It’s their ability to say, “See?! I am good enough.” When they burn out, high achievers are confronted with their own feelings of inadequacy.
Here are some ways to slow down and improve your self worth at the same time.
1. Separate your value as a person from that of the things you’ve achieved.
The value of the career, house, car, or bank account can vary based on many factors. But your value as a human being doesn’t – it’s a constant you can count on.
2. Get brave and dig into learning more about why you seek validation by over performing.
Maybe you had strict, controlling parents who only gave you attention when you did well in school. Or maybe you were bullied and want to protect yourself from that happening again. If you’re struggling to uncover the root causes, consider working with a therapist who can help you gain some valuable insights.
You’ve probably heard the terms, but aren’t sure what it means exactly. Self care is a broad term of the things you can do to restore and replenish yourself. Think of self care like plugging in your smartphone when the battery power is at 3%. It restores your energy so you can carry on. It can be a hobby, time with friends and family, reading a book, treating yourself to a massage, or even going to a therapy session. Most importantly, it is not selfish or self-indulgent.
Success is great, but not at the expense of your mental health. I hope this got you thinking about how you can slow down if you struggle with over functioning and high achievement. Share this article with someone you know that might need it.
Wish you could learn to stop needing others’ validation and perfectionism? If you answered ‘yes’, then sign up for Daring Greatly™, our latest online workshop. Click here to learn more about this course can help you finally feel good enough.