The word PERFECT is often used as a complement. People often describe themselves as a perfectionist in job interviews. However, mental health practitioners are of the opinion that trying to be too perfect can be counterproductive.
Perfectionism is broadly defined as a combination of excessively high personal standards and overly critical self-evaluations.
Experts identify two sub-dimensions of perfectionism. The excellence-seeking perfectionism and failure-avoiding perfectionism. The former type of perfectionism involves tendencies to fixate on and demand very high standards. They strictly evaluate their own performance and hold high expectations for others as well. The latter type involves an obsessive aversion to failing to achieve high performance standards. They are constantly concerned and worried about their work not being good enough.
While perfectionists tend to be organized, reliable, and driven, but they often feel unhappy with their life. Perfectionism can lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other issues. It can also adversely affect personal relationships, work, schoolwork, and quality of life.
Signs that you are a perfectionist
- You want to be perfect in every single task you face. If you tend to get frustrated every time you fail to complete a task perfectly or meet the unrealistic standards you have set for yourself, it is likely that perfectionism is harming your quality of life.
- You feel like you fail at everything you try because you do not meet the high standards you set for yourself. You feel that being in the second spot means you are a loser. It’s all or nothing for you.
- You procrastinate regularly. You are always afraid of starting a task because you are skeptical or afraid that you might not be able to complete it to perfection. This might be pushing you behind deadlines.
- You desire approval and you focus a lot on what people think about what you have done. You do not focus on the effort itself but on how others are judging your effort.
- You have become obsessed with work, rules, and lists, or alternately, become apathetic.
- You don’t take feedback well. Someone offering you honest feedback or suggestions to improve makes you defensive.
- You, at times, pull other people down to feel better. You are constantly critical of others.
- Smallest of failures make you feel guilty and feel you are letting yourself and your loved ones down.
- You are controlling your professional and personal relationships
If you think you are doing some of these things, it could be a sign that your perfectionism is harming you. It is best to seek help form a trained psychologist, who can evaluate you, diagnose the problem, and treat it accordingly.
Why is it necessary to get help for perfectionism?
A study of nearly 42,000 young people across the world revealed that perfectionism has increased significantly over the last 27 years. It has been shown that striving for perfectionism is not overly beneficial for employees and may have significant costs for both organizations and employees.
Toxic perfectionism can adversely affect your mental health. Research indicates that perfectionism is strongly and consistently related to numerous “detrimental” work and non-work outcomes, including higher levels of burnout, stress, workaholism, anxiety, and depression.
If you think that perfectionism is doing more harm than good to you and is interfering with your mental well-being and affecting your quality of life, speak to a counselor now. With counseling, you can learn to manage your perfectionism effectively and lead a better life.