Big Feels Monday: Let's Talk about Perfectionism and Triggers

Big Feels Monday: Let's Talk about Perfectionism and Triggers

Welcome back to Big Feels Monday, a weekly series by The Big Silence where we talk about how we’re feeling, and bring up tools and inspiration to help start the week off.

Let's Talk About Perfectionism and Triggers

Today for Big Feels Monday, Karena and James talk about social media, triggers and perfectionism. What does it mean to be “low-key” triggered and how does it derail your confidence? Does comparison lead to perfectionism? How do you beat it? Watch the video and then read below for tips in this week's mental health toolkit.

"Perfectionism is a prison." - Karena Dawn

Perfectionism is a personality trait driven by internal pressures that are often rooted in fear of failure or harsh judgement. Perfectionism is not a mental illness, but in cases where it drives a person in an unhealthy way it can contribute to mental health problems, and can be accompanied by depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and even suicidal impulses.

There's nothing wrong with having high standards and driving yourself towards your goals and success. So, when do you know that perfectionism has become toxic? According to Psychology Today, "When taken too far, the striving for perfection can lead to negative outcomes, like procrastination, a tendency to avoid challenges, rigid all-or-nothing thinking, toxic comparisons, and a lack of creativity."

We've rounded up tips from some of our guests to help relieve perfectionist tendencies and live in a more joyful and accepting place. 

Mental Health Tools of the Week

Ashley Greene's Tip for Dealing with Maladaptive Perfectionism: Adjust Your Standards

"At one point he was like, 'Ashley what you do to yourself, how cruel you are to yourself, how much you expect of yourself- it's like you're cutting yourself internally. He's like you're doing so much damage to yourself.'"

Ashley Greene Khoury shared that her husband's comment was a wake-up call that helped her to recognize her maladaptive perfectionism. In Stigma Shame: Period Pain and Women's Mental Health, Ashley says, "I was just like, whoa okay can we talk about that more? What what demands do I put on myself that are making me feel that way, like what is it? Is it society's expectations? Is it my own? I think it's both."

Ashley admits, "I always put a lot of expectation on myself. I am a bit of a perfectionist, which I try and get away from, and like now I try and say, 'the work you put in today was the best that you could do today,' and I move forward." 

Ruminating is not Problem Solving

What can you do if you find your default is always that you have to do better and be better and be perfect? Ashley suggests to remember that nobody is going to love you any less just because you don't perform at this super high level everyday. "Someone said something like 'I'm not responsible for how you feel about me' which is really powerful, if we could live life by that." She says that if something doesn't go the way that you would have liked, it's best to just let things happen. If you are "looking at like, say, six different outcomes, maybe one of those outcomes will happen, but maybe they don't.  And then you have just punished yourself for all six outcomes. Try to just let things happen."

Alyson Stoner's Tip for Dealing with Toxic Perfectionism: Know Your Triggers

“I didn't have names for it like stress. I interpreted everything through the lens of over achievement, perfectionism, and as someone who auditions for a living as a child I'm being conditioned to win your approval instantaneously. And it was not really about like how am I feeling in this? So, when you start to notice that something's up it manifests as other symptoms, whether it's physical pain, or ailments. A lot of folks see young starlets “On The Rise” who start to “act out” and if you have a more compassionate understanding of what's happening, there is an unmanageable amount of stress on the individual. Some looked at drugs. For me it was eating and exercise.”



 Alyson's advice is to "celebrate the more fluid experience, instead of getting stuck on some some specific destination. If you can really embrace, like 'oh this is a season, this is a phase' I think relaxes some of that pressure."

Angie Lee's Tool for Managing Perfectionism: See the Big Picture 

"I think we're supposed to just do what you love, have a good time, be around good people. Why are we taking this experience so seriously?"  

Vasavi Kumar's Advice to Combat Negative Perfectionism: Get Clear on Your Goals

Oftentimes it is comparison, and societal or familial influences that can lead a person towards negative perfectionism. In What's Not to Love: Saying it Out Loud with Vasavi Kumar she share that shutting out comparisons was what really helped her to get clear on her own goals and motivations, “I said, Vas, you're not mediocre if your goal isn't that like ‘oh I want this much money per month.’ I'm giving myself permission to be like, ‘What do I actually want?" 

If you are stuck or struggling with perfectionism and looking for a way through, listing your priorities can help you clear the pathway to your destination. Vasavi says:

“We get to ask ourselves what do I want? Or look at what you currently have in your life and you're like why do I even have this? What am I doing this for? I noticed myself just constantly pushing, pushing, pushing, pushing, and I was like' I don't even want to be doing this right now!' We gotta question ourselves: 'for what?' and 'In the name of what?' do we want?



How are you really feeling? We'd love to hear about your week, or share your favorite tools for the week in the comments!


The Big Silence Foundation, Inc is a U.S. tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to changing the culture of mental health. Consistent with IRS guidelines, all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. Donate to bring change with us!


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The information provided is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Users are advised to consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if they're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.

**Please note that if your thoughts start becoming hopeless or suicidal, contact emergency at 988 or 911 andcrisis services immediately. You can find more resourceshere. Text HELLO to 741741 to be connected with a trained crisis counselor.


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The mental health foundation was founded in 2021 by Karena Dawn, a wellness entrepreneur and leading mental health advocate, based on her experiences growing up in a family impacted by mental illness (shared in her memoir, The Big Silence). It’s our goal to support people’s mental health journey from childhood to adult and to create a more joyful and loving place. 



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Founder Karena Dawn shares her personal story in The Big Silence: A Daughter's Memoir of Mental Illness and Healing, shining a light on the eternal struggle we all share—how to move past the pain and suffering of our personal battles to experience life’s joys.