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  • Writer's pictureConnie Leach

Is Perfectionism Keeping You Stuck?

Updated: May 21

"Healthy striving is self-focused: 'How can I improve?' Perfectionism is other focused: 'What will they think?'"

-Brene Brown

What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a personality trait that can have positive and negative effects on who we are and how we think, feel, and behave. While having high standards is good, perfectionists tend to drive themselves toward impossible expectations.

Examples include:

  1. Reluctance to prioritize: Perfectionists typically want to control everything and have difficulty letting go of the non-essential work. They want to do all of the tasks.

  2. Avoidance of failure: This can prevent perfectionists from starting a project fearing that they won't be 100% sure of success. They struggle to move forward or make a decision.

  3. Perfectionist strivings: Setting impossibly high personal standards for themselves and others. They make themselves crazy not being able to live up to these unrealistic standards.

  4. Perfectionist concerns: They tend to combine fear and worry over making mistakes. They have endless doubts about everything.

Are You a Perfectionist: Ask Yourself...

  1. Do I feel compelled to do things perfectly?

  2. When things are not perfect do you feel uncomfortable or anxious?

  3. Do yo feel stressed or irritable when something can't be completed to your level of satisfaction?

  4. Does your need for perfection annoy or upset others?

  5. Do you like to be in control wanting everything to go a certain way, thus having difficulty going with the flow?

What Can You Do?

  1. Notice the fear that is driving you to be perfect. Try and distance yourself from what others will think.

  2. Watch for bodily signs of discomfort, such as in your neck and in your gut.

  3. Be aware of activities that you might miss out on because of your need to be perfect, such as feeling ashamed of your looks, for example.

  4. Remind yourself to seek "good enough" instead of perfection.

  5. Lastly, what joy could you experience if you weren't worried about what others may think?

While striving for excellence can be a positive motivator, perfectionism can become detrimental when it hinders productivity, erodes self-esteem, and strains relationships. Learning to strike a balance between setting high standards and accepting imperfection is crucial for personal growth and well-being.

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