Jessica Fish

Are you a perfectionist? There’s nothing wrong with wanting things in your life just so, wanting things beautiful, wanting everything done right, and wanting to work hard to achieve great goals. However, there is no such thing as perfect, which is what so many people forget. You can’t have a perfect home or a perfect life or do a job perfectly. Mistakes are made, flaws are present, and every day is not perfect. If your perfectionism is severe, it might have a negative effect on your mental health. Do you think your desire to have everything perfect all the time is hindering your ability to live a good life?

If so, read on…

Your Views Of Perfectionism & How They Affect Your Life

Set high standards for yourself in every area of your life. You don’t want low standards to live by, but you cannot set high standards and expect perfectionism from each of them. There will never be a perfect job or a perfect mate. You will never look perfect or behave perfectly, and nothing will ever happen perfectly. Set high standards and learn how to reevaluate them as needed to allow for small imperfections.

Pressure & Perfectionism

Your high standards are not your problem, but it’s your perception of reality that is a problem. If you believe you cannot go through life if things are not just so, done this way, or appear that way, you are putting too much pressure on yourself. For example, if you cannot leave your home without everything being put away and all things looking perfectly clean, you might put a lot of pressure on yourself if you’re already running late when you realize you need to clean up behind your kids.

Now you’re late for work, your kids are late for school, and what did you get out of this? A clean house is what you got, but is that worth the detention your kids must now attend or the reprimand your boss issued when you rushed into the office 10 minutes late for a meeting? In my case it’s doing unnessary cleaning and tasks BEFORE I work online and then when I do get online, it’s already late morning or the afternoon, which I know is not my best time for productivity. So why do I do it? Trying to train my brain to concentrate on what’s really important in the morning and what’s not is difficult for me and it takes small steps to make those changes so I can focus on what really needs to get done.

If you put pressure on yourself to achieve perfection, you’re going to get perfection. Unfortunately, you’re going to get perfection in only the area on which you’re focused. The rest of your life is going to fall apart…I know this all to well!

Mental Health & Perfectionism

You’ll drive yourself crazy if you want things perfect and don’t allow any room for mistakes. You do want things to be perfect, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You must simply allow yourself to understand that there will be things that prevent perfection. Until you understand that, you might just suffer from depression, anxiety, stress, and even health issues that affect your physical body, your emotional health, and even the relationships you have with the people you love.

It’s not easy to give up the idea that perfection does exist, but you cannot live like this if you want to maintain a happy and well-balanced lifestyle. You cannot live this way if you want to be healthy. It’s time to face your fears and learn what makes you feel this way, fix the problem, and learn to talk yourself out of being perfect all the time.

  1. Signs You Might Be A Perfectionist

While living your life as a perfectionist, you may not realize the toll perfectionism can take on your physical and emotional well-being. The quest for personal perfection often leaves the perfectionist with internalized feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem and fear. If you are a perfectionist, you may recognize these signs and symptoms.

You Perceive Everything In Black & White

For the perfectionist, the world is black and white. You see only two sides to everything, the right or wrong, good or bad. You take first place, or the competition is lost. There is no middle ground and grey areas are unacceptable. Because of this black and white belief system, anything less than perfection is a failure in your eyes. You fear that mistakes prove you unworthy.

You Have Unrealistic Or Demanding Standards 

If you’re a perfectionist, you may feel an unhealthy sense of competition. The expectations and amount of pressure you put on yourself are not always reasonable. You may set unrealistic goals causing you to feel stressed, anxious and fearful of imagined failures lurking around the corner.

Rather than enjoying the journey or process of an activity, you focus only on the outcome. You play to win, but may shun activities when you feel that others could out-perform you. You may also procrastinate projects when you fear that you may not excel.

You Are Highly Critical Of Yourself & Others

Some perfectionists are often as critical of others as they are of themselves. You may find that you are intolerant of other people’s shortcomings. You may feel angry or resentful when other people fall short of your high expectations.

Since you may believe in only one right path to any goal, you may feel it necessary to do most tasks on your own, rather than trust, delegate or ask for assistance. You may also believe that asking for help is admitting failure.

You Believe You Are Not Enough On Your Own

As a perfectionist, your self-esteem and your perceived value to others are proven by your most recent accomplishments. You may respond to this belief by setting your standards even higher and working even harder to accomplish more. You might wrongfully believe that your value in this world is reduced by error or oversight.

These are just a few examples of the beliefs and difficulties that haunt the perfectionist. Your quest for perfection does not need to continue. Recognizing some of your perfectionist tendencies could be your first step to creating more realistic expectations for yourself. You could begin living your life with less self-doubt and less self-induced stress when you allow yourself to be less than perfect.

  1. Perfectionism: Finding A Healthy Balance

Perfectionism is a continuous obsession to be perfect. Perfectionists obsess over one thing that must remain perfect at all times due to a fear of failure. Common things to obsess over include (but definitely not limited to) career, social acceptance, life goals, body image, academics, sports, or facial appearance. To avoid falling into the perfectionism cycle, practice these tips daily.

Embrace Mistakes

In school, various teachers emphasize mistakes and failures are bad while successes are good. This mentality created many perfectionists who won’t try new things. In life, mistakes and failure are lessons. If people viewed mistakes and failure as a teaching tool, it makes setbacks easier to accept. Schools are adapting to life’s teachings, so perfectionists should embrace life’s teachings too.

Erase The Uncompromising Approach

Why add an all-or-nothing stipulation to everything? The correct question to ask is “why is there an all-or-nothing stipulation?” Life is infinite. Life’s vantage point offers boundless possibilities to solve a problem that the mind didn’t examine. There’s room for compromise or happy mediums. Perfectionists cannot fathom that because they demand total control over their lives. Still, perfectionists can break the inflexible approach if they embrace mistakes and failure first.

Focus On The Journey

Obsessive perfectionists stressing over a real or imaginary destination is never satisfying. A satisfying outlook is appreciating the journey by smelling every rose. Concentrate on self-fulfillment and purpose and enjoy the process. Understand that progress and results will come, but it won’t arrive on a set timetable.

Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

With little evidence, perfectionists assume the best of everyone else and the worst of themselves. This creates comparisons, which leads to competition, which leads to rash decision making, which leads to consequences and reverberations. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, websites and social media add fuel to a perfectionist’s fire.

The reality is everyone else is displaying a facade of his or her best selves without flaws. Besides, everyone has a separate race to run, and it doesn’t coincide with your marathon. Therefore, say positive things daily, show self-gratitude, and focus on your journey. People comparisons are detours and dead ends designed to prevent and hinder personal growth and success.

Reward Yourself

This is important! Congratulate yourself on small and big accomplishments by spoiling yourself on self-indulgence and incentives often. A cheat day, a spa, a vacation, a massage or even a night out on the town are great examples of rewarding pleasures. Celebrate (for example) a test passed, a winning bid, a job promotion, or advice that worked like a charm. The rewards system is beneficial for recharging batteries too.

Perfectionism is beneficial when used correctly and self-destructive when used incorrectly…obviously. Find a healthy balance between ambition and perfectionism with these reality checks above. Breaking perfectionism requires baby steps taken one situation at a time. Surround yourself with a loving support system who will keep perfectionism far, far away. 

Until next time, take care of yourself.

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