Talk Back to the Perfectionist in Your Head

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You know the one—that annoying voice that says you can’t mess up your gymnastics routine because your teammates will be mad at you, or that you have to get straight A’s. She pushes you to be your best, but sometimes she says things that just aren’t true. When that happens, here’s how to shut her down.

  • Call her bluff. Say, “Really? So you think if I make a mistake in my routine, my teammates will turn against me? Really? That doesn’t sound like them. That doesn’t even make sense.”
  • Keep score. The next time she says your life will tank if you get a B, remind her of a time when you got less than 100% on something—and life somehow managed to go on.
  • Be your own best friend. Think about the things she says to you. Would you let someone talk to your best friend that way? No! You’d defend her. So defend yourself, too. Tell that bully to back off.
  • Challenge her “what ifs.” When she says “What if you forget your lines?” respond by saying “So what if I forget? Will the sky fall? No. My drama teacher will whisper them to me, the show will go on, and everyone will forget all about it.”
  • Celebrate failures. If she criticizes you for failing, tell her that you welcome failure. Why? Because it means you’re taking risks and learning new things. When she realizes that you’re no longer listening, she’ll stop talking. And that will be worth celebrating, too!