Perfectionism and the Holidays

During the holidays, I always feel a bit of excitement around hearing the holiday tunes and being able to take time off to celebrate with the folks I love and adore. However, the other side of the holidays for me is around perfectionism.  I find myself wanting to find the “perfect” gift, the “perfect” outfit for my holiday card, or the “perfect” way to celebrate with friends and family.  After last week in San Antonio, helping train other therapists on the Brené Brown’s The Daring Way™ curriculum (, I am reminded of how perfectionism actually takes me away from what I am really wanting during the holidays: connection.  Here are some tips on staying connected during this busy time.

  1.  Let go of the concept of, “it’s suppose to be like…” or “it’s supposed to look like…”. When we let go of what others think and find out what’s important to us during the holiday season, you find more joy and happiness. One of the best times I remember last year was watching my mom and sister open a very personal handmade gift from my niece.
  2.  Keep the “should” in check and be ok with mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities to learn, however, many of us (including me) feel like a failure when we make a mistake or don’t get something exactly “right”.
  3. Let go of being tied to, “we have always done it this way.”  While many of us love holiday traditions, sometimes we get caught up in having to do things a certain way. Making your own traditions is a fun way to stay connected. Last year, we dressed our dogs up in funny holiday costumes; our dog, Bear, might make another appearance this year in his Santa outfit.
  4. Forget the idea that more is better. Gift giving is an important part of the holiday season but I often find myself going overboard with gifts to loved ones.  I believe the most important gift is the feeling of belonging and love.
  5. Remember to practice gratitude and forgiveness for others and ourselves; it is just as important as gift giving. When you are feeling stressed around the holidays, it is very easy to take it out on the people who we care about the most.  There is no such thing as the perfect family, so being thankful for what you do have, and also forgiving those who have hurt you, is a perfect gift to give and always fits!!!

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