The Truth About Perfectionism

Why does it feel like whatever we do is never good enough? Being a perfectionist can take its toll on the ways we think about and treat ourselves.


Sure, here and there, a little perfectionism isn’t so bad because wanting to succeed doesn’t consume us. But when it becomes too much, all we’re doing is hurting ourselves.


What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is considered a personality trait that involves an individual being too hard on themselves and attempting to reach their own impossibly high standards with no flaws. And with perfectionism comes a lot of self-criticism…


There are many signs of perfectionism that you wouldn’t think relate at all. These signs include procrastination, not taking any risks, and becoming more sensitive to criticism.


Perfectionists may procrastinate as a way to avoid failure, putting things off because they don’t want to make any mistakes. Of course, this always backfires because they end up waiting too long, thinking they can still get their work done well in the little time they have left for themselves.


Not taking risks is also something perfectionists do because they like to know that they’ll do well in whatever they do. That is why they won’t do something that they could potentially fail at.


A reason that perfectionists are also sensitive to criticism is because they already feel like they aren't good enough for themselves. But hearing it come from someone else as well hurts even more because all they want is to please themselves and the people around them.


Where does Perfectionism come from?

A lot of things may contribute to an individual’s perfectionism. They could’ve grown up with parents who were perfectionists themselves and learned from their behaviors, or maybe their parents were the ones who put high standards on them, leading that individual to put more pressure on themselves. 


Interestingly enough, someone may also become a perfectionist if they were overly praised for their achievements as a child. They want to please others because it feels good to have the approval that they crave.


What Perfectionism Can Lead to

It’s no surprise that perfectionism can lead to negative self-talk. Making a mistake may feel like the end of the world to perfectionists, while it doesn’t seem like it’s that big of a deal to other people.


Perfectionism can also lead to anxiety and depression. Some perfectionists feel like they’ll be judged by others if they can’t be the very best they can be.


Another problem with perfectionism is that perfectionists are never satisfied with themselves. They can beat themselves up over either making a mistake or just not doing enough to reach their own expectations.


What To Do About Perfectionism

Although Perfectionism is a big obstacle, there are some ways perfectionists can heal and cope with it.


One of the hardest yet most necessary things a perfectionist should do is to lower their expectations. Focusing on the little things that you’re good at is more rewarding than making yourself miserable over your faults.


Learning to manage time better is also important for perfectionists, that way they can leave themselves enough time to work without procrastination getting in their way.


Lastly, forgiving yourself is one of the most essential things one can do to help with perfectionism. If you make a mistake, remember that it’s not the end of the world, and don’t let it ruin your day.


There’s so much more to you than just your achievements, so be kind to yourself.