Pursuing excellence is not a bad thing, but the trouble starts when individuals can’t keep calm. Many people believe that striving for perfection is a good thing because it boosts your odds of succeeding. Despite this upbeat outlook, rigidity can lead to negative actions. When striving for excellence becomes problematic, success is elusive. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health difficulties may also result from this.
A Definition of Perfectionism
The pursuit of perfection or the appearance of perfection is the definition of perfectionism. To be a perfectionist is to think that flawlessness is not only possible but inevitable and to justify perfectionist ways of thinking, the phrase “healthy perfectionism” is used. Being the best you can be is not the same as being flawless. Perfectionism is a defence strategy used by troubled people to protect themselves from unpleasant feelings, shame, and social criticism.
Symptoms of a Perfectionist
Pursuing absolute excellence has its merits. A positive outlook like this can motivate a person to work diligently and achieve success. However, some need to constantly feel or accomplish perfection. Do you feel like you strive for perfection? Here are some of the warning signs:
- You don’t want to do something unless you have complete confidence that you can execute it without any difficulty.
- You could care less as long as the objective is met. The only thing that counts is that the final product is flawless and perfect.
- There is no universally accepted standard for perfection. Whatever you do, the outcome needs to be flawless by your standards.
- What you do is procrastinate. Perfectionist is hesitant to begin work on a project if they believe the end product won’t be flawless. They put off starting the project for this reason.
- You take more time than is necessary to complete a job because you insist on perfection. Your productivity will suffer as a result of this.
- You can never be happy with your results. No one is ever perfect in your eyes.
- You believe that your flawlessness is what draws people to you. You don’t let people in on your flaws or mistakes, only your successes.
Common traits of perfectionists are outlined below:
- You double-check your phrases for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors as you write. You waste far too much time on this.
- Getting a perfect score on a test is everyone’s ultimate goal. Even a minor slip-up is seen as a catastrophic disaster.
- You wish you could be as successful as the individuals you envy.
- You have an unhealthy obsession with measuring your success against that of others.
- If there is something you know you are not good at, you don’t do it.
- You try to prevent situations where you’ll have to brag about your achievements. If you don’t succeed, you worry that you won’t measure up to your ideal self.
A fanatic is someone who strives for excellence in every aspect of life. Even if rigidity stems from a single source, it can develop into various forms. Depending on the circumstances, one of three distinct kinds can emerge.
Ethical Principles Perfectionism
Individual ideals of perfectionism are the most desirable form. The likelihood of severe tension or anxiety is reduced with this type. Such perfectionists create personal standards that serve as personal guides.
- They don’t have a propensity for developing bad routines.
- They set reasonable expectations.
- They gain motivation, inspiration, and energy from these objectives.
Criticising Oneself for Not Being Perfect
Perfectionists who are overly hard on themselves tend to be paralysed by their high expectations. They just aren’t in the mood to get it done. They’re easily disheartened by the reality that their plans probably won’t come to fruition. This level of perfectionism is unhealthy and always results in misery, worry, and guilt.
The Pressure to Be Perfect in Society
The social environment has a major effect on this sort of a perfectionist. Professionals in fields like medicine, engineering, law, and the sciences are subject to a standard of greatness that is socially prescribed. High achievers are more vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation than the general population.
Areas Where Perfectionism Can Cause Problems
A person’s existence is impacted in many ways by their perfectionism. Here are some of how striving for excellence can cause problems:
A Workplace or Educational Setting
People who strive for perfection take longer to complete a job than their friends and coworkers. They are hesitant to accept a task for which they believe they are not adequately prepared. They are slow and reluctant because they want to do everything just right.
Relationships with perfectionists are difficult because they set such high expectations. These requirements add strain, anxiety, and unease to the connection.
Getting Out and About
Both solo and team sports are filled with perfectionists. To win a gold medal in an individual activity, the athlete strives for absolute perfection. They also have a fierce internal rivalry. Each team member strives for greatness and praise in a team activity. Everyone wants to be the best on the team, the one everyone watches.
You put in many hours caring for your house. You might get annoyed by trash if you prefer to live in a spotless, litter-free area. The same holds for where you study or work.
Competence in Both Oral and Written Communication
Writers and speakers who strive for perfection give close attention to their craft. They work hard to use correct grammar, pronunciation, and tone in their written and spoken communications. The quality of their written and verbal abilities, however, may decline if they make a mistake. They will be disheartened to try public writing or speaking again.
Hygiene and Health
An unhealthy fixation on physical fitness has negative consequences. The idealist creates a regimen of rigorous exercise and healthy eating. They need to stay on it to keep their bodies in good shape. This raises the risk that they will suffer from an eating condition like orthorexia nervosa, according to studies.
People who strive for perfection are overly concerned with their appearance. They’d wander the supermarket for hours trying to find the appropriate personal care items. They could read voluminous online product reviews, too.
Motives for Trying Too Hard
Several factors can lead to an individual becoming perfectionistic. Here are a few examples:
- The anxiety brought on by doubting oneself and worrying that others will judge you negatively.
- You’re dealing with mental health problems like OCD. (OCD). OCD patients tend to be perfectionists. But not all OCD sufferers are perfectionists, and not all perfectionists suffer from OCD.
- There are families where the kids are expected to be flawless. When their offspring fall short of their ideals, they become easily discouraged. They put an incredible amount of pressure on their kids to succeed in everything they try.
- You were born into a dysfunctional family unit. Children who do not have positive parent-child interactions struggle as adults. They might have trouble understanding failure or less-than-perfect outcomes.
- Those who were raised by perfectionists will find it difficult to achieve and sustain success in school and the workplace. Parents need to rein in their perfectionism if they want their kids to grow up without it.
People Who Strive for Perfection Are Often Successful
Achievers have a reputation for being viewed as perfectionists. Achievers are hard-working people who can achieve any goal they set for themselves. They are driven only by their desire to succeed. High achievers, in contrast to perfectionists, are not paralyzed by their fear of making an error.
People with perfectionism disorder are highly motivated to succeed. They protect their sense of self-worth by avoiding information that suggests they are not adequate. Those who are perfectionists are constantly pushing themselves to improve. They are under a lot of pressure to keep up the good job and even exceed expectations. An unhealthy obsession with excellence can lead to psychological problems.
Disordered Eating, Mental Health, and the Drive for Perfection
The more perfectionistic a person is, the more likely they are to develop mental health issues. Stress, melancholy, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, insomnia, chronic fatigue, eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, and even suicidal ideation are all possible outcomes. The pressure to be perfect on social media has impacted the younger generations. Children’s easy access to social media has led to the rise of harmful comparisons among the generation.
Influencers on social media platforms only publish carefully selected material. All the flaws are concealed from view, so all you see is perfection. Younger children can be hard to convey the realities of the situation too. Explaining it to them will only cause more confusion and frustration. Unfortunately, rigidity has no surefire cure. Knowing when you’ve made a mistake is crucial. It’s perfectly typical to make blunders because you’re human. You need to train yourself to be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with more compassion and tolerance.
Accept and Enjoy Your Flaws
Don’t put undue pressure on yourself or your kids if you’re a parent. You’re a good parent doing your best to bring them up. Give them your unconditional love. Don’t be too hard on yourself, kid, because of a few slip-ups. Your failures should serve as opportunities for growth rather than roadblocks to your success in the future. Embracing both your talents and weaknesses with open arms will lead you to true success.