The Truth About Perfectionism
Updated: Apr 21, 2022
We live in a society that values things that appear perfect. I suppose some things can be perfect. Architects can draw the perfect straight line, mathematicians can solve an equation with a perfect calculation, and a chocolate cake can be perfectly moist.
But as human beings, we can never reach a state of perfection because we will always be a work in progress. Perfection indicates a finality – a finished product – but we as humans are constantly growing and ever-changing.
What is Perfectionism?
Many people view perfectionism as a positive attribute. They believe the more “perfect” they are, the more successful they will be in life.
Perfectionism is NOT the same thing as always doing your best. It is important that we always do our best. By doing so, we can experience healthy achievements and growth. Perfectionism takes this concept to the extreme.
People with perfectionist tendencies often have self-defeating thoughts and/or behaviors that make it HARDER to achieve their goals. Perfectionism also can cause the individual to feel stress, anxiety, and depression.
Signs to Look For
From time to time, most human beings will strive for perfectionism in some aspect of their life. For example, that “perfectly moist chocolate cake” I mentioned earlier got that way because the person who baked it was trying to get everything JUST RIGHT as a gift for someone’s birthday.
However, there are those people who are “full-time” perfectionists, and they strive for perfection in all aspects of their life. Here are some signs you may be a perfectionist:
You don’t like to attempt tasks or activities unless you feel you can complete them perfectly.
You are end-oriented, meaning you focus little on the process of creating or learning something and put all of the emphasis on the outcome.
You cannot see a task as having been completed unless it meets your perfectionist standards.
You tend to procrastinate because you don’t like starting a task until you know you can complete it perfectly.
You tend to take far longer completing tasks than others; this can be problematic at work.
Again, perfectionism is not the same thing as doing your best. It is a condition whereby the individual is almost incapable of feeling joy or pride at what they accomplish because, in their own minds, they are never quite good enough.
If you believe you may have traits of perfectionism and it is causing you stress, there are things you can do to change your behavior to live a healthier and happier life.
Please reach out to me if you’d like to explore this more.