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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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Please answer the following questions:
- I do not handle criticism well
- I see any mistake as failure
- They are better than me
- I set unrealistic goals
- I depend on the opinion’s of others
- You are constantly criticizing others
- You have difficulties delegating to others
- Set achievevable goals and turn your unreal expectations of yourself into realistic ones.
- 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.
- 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.
- Start working on your self esteem , you can download Increase Self Esteem or
To overcome perfectionism might take time but is worth trying. You will feel more relax, more human , suffer less anxiety and become happier.
Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it’s about earning approval and acceptance. Brene Brown