How To Overcome Perfectionism


What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism is the tendency to want to be perfect that involves self defeating thoughts that cause you to try unrealistically high goals that, of course, you will never achieve. Perfectionism is

  • When no effort is ever good enough.
  • When you become fearful of making mistakes or of being humiliated.
  • Everything must be perfect.
  • When you never seem to have enough time to do your best.
  • When you demand perfection and intolerant of others’ mistakes.

How emotions are related to Perfectionism?

Since perfectionism is a self-esteem issue that is based on emotional convictions about how you should do, be or perform in order to be acceptable, if something is not perfect yet, you will dismiss it. Therefore, you might experience fear of failure, unhappiness and other painful emotions.

A perfectionist see mistakes as unacceptable and if they make one, they might feel incompetent. This reactions will often lead to anxiety, emotional disorders and depression.

Four reasons for being perfectionist

In our society, perfectionism is often seen as desirable. Even essential for success. But, studies show that perfectionism intervene with success. Are you a perfectionist?. What are the reasons?.

Perfectionism is one of the most common symptoms of low self-esteem. Some of the reasons are listed below.

  1. Fear of failure is among of the reasons for perfectionism. Often, perfectionists blame their failures on lack of personal worth.
  2. Another reason is being afraid to make mistakes. For perfectionists, mistakes and failure are the same. They miss opportunities to learn and grow by living their lives avoiding mistakes.
  3. Fear of rejection is a one of the most common reasons. Perfectionists are often afraid that if other people will see their flaws, they will be rejected.
  4. Rigid Rules. Perfectionists live with rigid rules structured by a never-ending list of “should”.
  5. Critical Parents: When the parents are constantly criticizing a child, the child start to develop the feeling that is not good enough. Because children need and want to please their parents they will imposed on themselves impossible standard that in the long run will not achieve because of the fear of failure.
  6. Emotional needs not fulfilled: Sometimes parents are not attuned to their children’s emotional needs and the child might start to believe that having those needs is shameful.
  7. Perfectionist parents: They will influence the child to become like them. My father actually was a perfectionist and he keep saying to me all the time: If you do something, do it right, if not do not do it. These kind of message can paralyze a person and develop an intense fear of failure. Also create the sense of never being good enough. The need to be perfect to be accepted by the parents.
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Being a perfectionist, you probably learned early in your life that:

  • Others only value you because of the things you can do and have accomplished.
  • Your self esteem might have been based primarily on external standards. This leaves you defenseless and extremely sensitive to other people’s opinion and criticism.
  • You probably decided that being perfect is your only defense from such criticism.

Consequences of Perfectionism

According to Psychology Today Perfectionism leads to unhappiness and often depression and eating disorders. Perfectionist often live in the conflict of achieving success and avoiding failure. Perfectionists link their own self worth to what they achieve and therefore they develop low self esteem , self-critisim and blame. Procrastination is one the ways a perfectionist will not start a project because of fear of failure.

Are you a Perfectionist?

Please answer the following questions:

  1. I do not handle criticism well
  2. I see any mistake as failure
  3. They are better than me
  4. I set unrealistic goals
  5. I depend on the opinion’s of others
  6. You are constantly criticizing others
  7. You have difficulties delegating to others

Overcoming perfectionism – learn from my experience

I came from perfectionists parents. My father was a successful Engineering and Scientific. He always said that if I don’t do it right, I should not do it.

He constantly sent the message that I should be more successful than him. That was one of the reasons why I lived paralyzed for a long time. On the other hand, my mother always finds faults and told me how to do it right. She projected her flaws onto me because of her low self esteem.

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When I showed her the flaws with my actions, she came to the rescue by telling me how to fix them. Overcoming perfectionism wasn’t easy, but here are some tips I used:

  1. Tip #1: making a Cost-Benefit Analysis. Make a list of all the things how being a perfectionist is hurting you and those around you. You will be more motivated to shed those tendencies.
  2. Tip # 2: See the positive. If you find something that you do not like about yourself or your work, look for five other qualities that you like. This will balance out your critical focus and may start a positive attitude.[1]

In conclusion. You must learn to handle criticism. This one of the most important reasons because it causes you to feel extremely sensitive to other people’s opinion. And feed all the reasons explained above.

  1. Set achievevable goals and turn your unreal expectations of yourself into realistic ones.
  2. Monitor your thoughts: Catch yourself during the day with the most self-critical thoughts about yourself and others. You can write them down , and at the end of the day you will be more conscious of your higher expectations.
  3. Relax and give yourself permission to fail. Instead of waiting to do a project for example until you have everything thought perfectly, start anyway and take the risk to fail. Chances are that you might not fail, but if you do, learn from it and move on.
  4. Start working on your self esteem , you can download Increase Self Esteem or
  5. 80% is good enough

Even if the criticism you are receiving is harsh, it is okay to remind ourselves that making mistakes is a great way to learn. Try this Self-hypnosis techniques downloads for overcoming this tendency:

  1. Are you a perfectionist? Overcoming perfectionism and enjoying relaxing a whole lot more.
  2. Overcome fear of rejection.
  3. Overcome fear of failure.
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To overcome perfectionism might take time but is worth trying. You will feel more relax, more human , suffer less anxiety and become happier.

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