Have you ever been anxious thinking you’re not good enough or being imperfect?
I believe everyone would have been there at least at some point of time in their lives. These are common emotions felt by almost all the people and with the help of internal or external factors, some outgrow their difficulties.
Sadly, a lot of people get trapped in a negative mindset and develop a phobia against the things they want to do with their lives.
You would have started to think… What, a phobia for not being perfect… for real?
It’s common for people to feel the butterflies in their stomach when they get nervous or try something new. And sometimes, people panic when trying out new things.
Why is there a need to claim or make everything a phobia, make people worry too much about it, and make them believe they have a medical condition?
You could ask why it’s not a character trait but a phobia. Is everything money-making business?
Sometimes it’s a Yes and Most of the times it’s a No!
Before we jump into a conclusion, I want to help you understand the difference between a personality and a phobia.
What is the difference between a personality and a phobia?
Personality is the individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. It is how they are, and being themselves never bothers them too much. Their personality can cause conflicts with others but not within themselves.
Phobia is when someone’s personal life is getting impaired because of their own behaviour. It is when they want to do something but are unable to do so, because it causes some sort of distress within themselves.
So the distress feeling caused within someone due to the fear of not being good enough or not being perfect is called Atelophobia.
It is the anxiety response a person experiences for not being perfect. Usually, people experience this when their reality doesn’t match the mental picture of how it should have been.
This is usually experienced by people who love to showcase their talent to the world. But due to their inner conflicts, they keep procrastinating even to start their work. People with atelophobia face challenges in relationships and while making new friends as well.
In Atelophobia, people experience severe anxiety whenever they want to experience something new. They are unable to step into an open mindset to learn from their mistakes because it is the fear of failure that is stopping them even to give a try.
They want to try something new but are unable to do it because they want it to be perfect. To be perfect, you have to begin first and learn from your mistakes.
Understand the vicious circle now?
May be, very rarely people can be flawless in their first attempts, but in most of the cases, it is hard work and persistence.
WHAT CAUSES ATELOPHOBIA?
There are a lot of reasons that could have enabled someone to develop Atelophobia. Sometimes it is a natural inclination, but mostly it is created by the events a person experiences in their childhood or adolescence.
Scenarios that can trigger Atelophobia
- Tragic Incidents
- High Parental Expectation
- Strict Teachers
- Negative comments
- Harsh Criticism
- Always being compared with others
- Fear of failure
When a person experiences these kinds of events in their life, they tend to lose their self-confidence and start to believe that they are not good enough or develop an assumption about how things end.
A lot of people are experiencing atelophobia as they are competing to meet the society’s expected standards, rather than finding time to explore and pursue what they want to do in life.
People don’t experience these symptoms throughout the day but is triggered whenever they want to try out new things.
The below symptoms can help you to understand and know a person’s personality trait has changed into a phobia.
- Constantly procrastinating work due to the fear of imperfection
- Scared to do new things
- Feel everything they do is wrong
- Setting very high standards
- Scared about people pointing out the flaws
- Prefer to do nothing than to do something incorrectly
The anxiety induces distress in their physical and mental health, causing the below symptoms.
Mental Health Challenges: Feels powerless, self-doubts, lose control of self and situation, difficulty in focusing, panic attacks.
Physical Health Challenges: Elevated heartbeat, sweating, headache, nausea, muscle tension, dry throat, taking more breaths and body shaking.
Due to these inimical effects, the person keeps on procrastinating to take the first step towards their goal.
If you or a person you know have Atelophobia, Here are 11 practical tips to conquer your fear.
11 Effective ways to Overcome Atelophobia:
People go through multiple events in their day to day lives and integrate new wisdom into themselves. Later they may recover naturally from this fear and start doing things without any hesitation.
But there is no guarantee if everyone will experience life-changing events that can help them overcome their fears, and we cannot be sure how long it might take for a person to overcome their fear naturally.
Worst case some may end up being this way forever and might never fulfill their desire to pursue or try new things in life.
I am sharing 11 Tips that can help you to cope up with Atelophobia and help you to start without procrastinating.
Shift your focus away:
When you start something new, you always think about what will happen if things go wrong and the criticism you might face if people don’t appreciate your work.
Replace those negative thoughts with pleasant memories you had in the past, think about the people who love you for who you are and accept you for what you do.
Whenever you begin to feel anxious, shift your focus towards the people who are there for you. This will help you to cope up with your anxiety and perform better.
Relax the social Image:
People often develop this fear because they feel that their reputation will be at risk if they cannot succeed or be better than their competitors.
Failing is an integral part of the success and a person trying his best to achieve what he wants is the best social image someone can carry.
Step out of the delusion that the world is only the best place for a perfectionist.
Get yourself a Mentor:
I would advise you to get a mentor than to recommend you to visit a therapist.
Spending time and learning from a person who has already crossed your desired destination can give you the best insights about the journey ahead of you.
The fear of not knowing the future is the main reason for anxiety, but with insights, you prepare yourself for what you are going to face.
This is one of the best ways to grow your self-confidence. It is not directly related to the goal you want to accomplish, but indeed, plays a vital role in providing a clear and better mindset.
Physical activities are proven to help with your mental and physical illness; you are more relaxed and socially active when you play or exercise every day.
Exercise controls your stress hormone cortisol and acts as a natural mood booster.
If you feel any of these is difficult for you, take 10 deep breaths whenever you are anxious. You will know the difference.
Acceptance/ Let go of the past:
Atelophobia can be because of any tragic incident that has happened in your life. The impact of the past can still trigger a fear response when you are in a similar situation.
The humiliation or the criticism can make you shiver and acts as a reminder of the past failure and make you feel that you may reencounter it.
Whatever happened in the past is in the past, it has nothing to do with the present!
Practice beforehand with your comfortable circle:
You may want to impress a larger audience, but with atelophobia, it is challenging. Before you establish your work, strike a conversation with the people whom you are most comfortable with, perform in front of them.
In turn, it will help you lessen the hesitation to perform in front of a greater audience and provide you a chance to overcome your vulnerabilities.
This can help you gain confidence.
Stop setting impossible standards:
Setting a very high standard to achieve at the first try is most likely impossible.
If you have just started to dance and you want to start a career or be a performer on stage with the expectation of Michael Jackson’s standard, do you honestly think that is going to work?
You may be better than him someday, but not at your first performance or in your first try.
Admire and follow the footsteps of your idol, but don’t try to outrun them at your first attempt. Make minute progress every day and you will be a better version of yourself soon.
This is a very powerful method to overcome all your miseries. Your subconscious mind will make it happen when affirmed multiple times a day, believing your words with strong emotions.
People have been open about this for a while, but this has never been brought into the light so much. Multiple people have acknowledged how affirmations have helped them overcome anxiety, self-doubts, overthinking and physical pain.
Frame an affirmation that best suits you, and repeat it with strong emotions every day.
Talk it out:
This fear of imperfection can be the biggest chunk blocking all the thoughts in your mind. Get it out; talk to a person about what is stopping you from being yourself.
When you speak about it, the intensity of the fear and the nervousness will recede. When you express yourself, you will know that lot of people are not so different from you.
You get ideas on how people overcome their fear of not being good enough. If you think it might work for you, try it out.
Get out of the idea of being perfect. Even the best performers in the world have haters. You are not chocolate to please everyone or make everybody like you!
Wait, there are people who even hate chocolates.
Step into reality. Is your favourite actor, singer, musician the best of everyone out there? It might be true for you, but others have a different opinion, for sure.
Focus on building your audience and develop your talent; there will be people who’ll always have conflicts with your actions and works.
Seek professional Advice :
If you think, your self-improvement process needs support you can seek professional help.
There is nothing wrong with this; you should not get trapped by the illusion that everything requires medical assistance. But when you feel there is a need, you have to consult a professional.
If you take professional help, mostly you are recommended to make some changes in lifestyle, prescribed medication, if necessary and psychotherapy.
Some effective Psychotherapies are
Exposure therapy focuses on fighting your fear to overcome anxiety. When you face you fear enough number of times, you don’t develop anxiety.
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is where the causes of negative thought patterns are identified and are modified to trigger favorable thoughts and behavior patterns.
After taking Psychotherapy, you may observe some changes in yourself, which helps you lead a better lifestyle.
What if I say it is a bit easier to overcome atelophobia?
You have been doing it all your life, and you should imply the strategy in your life again.
I feel that we face more difficulty in handling our emotions as we grow up compared to our childhood days.
Remember the time you couldn’t even spell the alphabets? The difficulty you had even to add a couple of numbers? The numerous mistakes you had to rectify before submitting your essay?
What made you better; the fear of not trying or the intent to be better with complete ignorance of what people would say?
You have always had the will and the power to pursue what is right, but growing in the fog of distractions made you lose sight of the track.
You already know how this works. Remember the rule of Math, keep practicing math till you get it right likewise, keep running towards your goal until you reach it.
Sometimes it’s the tragic incidents or the traumas that cause atelophobia in you. Accept it, talk yourself out of it, and be optimistic about the things happening in your life.
History only repeats itself for good deeds; your past traumas won’t reoccur.