Tips to combat perfectionist tendencies

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Jane Bluestein has written 19 books since she graduated from Suburban High School in 1969.

That number is telling, she says. She has a tendency to over commit, not because she’s trying to show off, but because she gets sucked into things she finds interesting. Perfectionism is one of those things.

Her latest book, “The Perfection Deception,” dives into the many ways perfectionism can show up in day-to-day life and how it impacts mental and physical health. It took her more than two years to research the the self-care book, Bluestein said.

Bluestein lived in York from 1967 to 1969 and participated in youth activities at the York Jewish Community Center. Now, Bluestein lives in Albuquerque, N.M. She will be coming back to the JCC on Friday to talk about her new book.

“Overall JCC’s mission as a health and wellness center, cultural center, is health and well-being of individuals of the community,” said Rachel Singer, cultural contemporary adult director at York JCC. “And a lot of times in our society individuals strive to be what we consider perfect.”

In her book, Bluestein talks about the fine line between striving for perfection and having a goal. She also touches on what a healthy and balanced life looks like, which is part of JCC’s mission.

Bluestein was initially doing a book about perfectionism in gifted teens, but once she started researching the topic, she realized it is a much bigger issue, she said. It isn’t a Jewish issue, it’s a human issue, Bluestein said.

Still, there are things you can do to combat perfectionist tendencies. Here are a few tips.

Start noticing how you feel

Are you spending too much time on details? When is the last time you had lunch with friends? Are you neglecting exercise? Are you allowing projects to take over your life? Noticing how you feel can be the first step to balancing your life.

Change all or nothing thinking

Do you tend to look at your work as either a complete mess or a complete perfect success? As perfectionists, a lot of times we have a hard time seeing the middle ground, Bluestein said. Try not to think in terms of all or nothing.

What are your expectations for other people and yourself?

Unrealistic expectations is a topic that came up multiple times during her research, Bluestein said. We expect ourselves to never make a mistake and may have those expectations of others. Notice what makes you upset. Is it really that important? Don’t sweat the small stuff.

What are you looking for?

Start paying attention to what you really want. Excellence, for example, is different from perfection. Notice if you are feeling like “people will not like you unless…” or if you are having a fear of rejection. Set realistic goals for yourself.

If you go 

Jane Bluestein will speak about her new book, “The Perfection Deception,” at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8, at the York JCC Auditorium, 2000 Hollywood Drive in York. Registration is $10 and can be paid at the door, at the front desk at the JCC or by calling 843-0918. Brunch is included and books can be purchased for $15. 

For more information about Jane Bluestein’s work, visit janebluestein.com.

See it on YDR here.

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