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  • What’s Wrong with Perfectionism?

    We live in a society that values perfection. Whether it’s at work, on social media, or with family, we often have incredibly high expectations for ourselves. Sometimes it may feel like if we can’t do something perfectly, there’s no point in doing it at all.

    But as human beings, we can never reach a state of perfection because perfection doesn’t really exist. Perfection is a made-up idea that is often arbitrary, if not impossible. By letting go of perfectionism, we can be free to be the best versions of ourselves, while also having compassion for our inevitable flaws and mistakes.

    What is Perfectionism?

    Many people view perfectionism as a positive thing. They believe the more “perfect” they are, the more success they will have in life. Many believe that through perfectionism, we can experience healthy achievements and growth. But perfectionism takes this concept to the extreme and often makes success impossible.

    People with perfectionist tendencies often have self-defeating thoughts and/or behaviors that actually make it HARDER to achieve their goals. The inner criticism of how things “should” be gets in the way of how great they realistically can be. Perfectionism also can lead to increased stress, anxiety, and depression.

    Signs to Look For

    Most human beings, from time to time, will strive for perfectionism in some aspect of their life. For example, the “perfect” social media post, work presentation, or even dinner party.

    But there are those people who are “full-time” perfectionists. They strive for perfection in all aspects of their life.

    Here are some signs you may be a perfectionist:

    • You don’t like to attempt tasks or activities unless you feel you can complete them perfectly.
    • You are end-oriented, meaning you focus little on the process of creating or learning something and put all of the emphasis on the outcome.
    • You cannot see a task as having been completed unless it meets your high standards.
    • You tend to procrastinate because you don’t like starting a task until you know you can perfectly complete it.
    • You tend to take far longer completing tasks than others. This can be problematic at work.

    Getting Help

    Perfectionism is not the same thing as doing your best. It is a tendency whereby the individual struggles to feel joy or pride at what they accomplish because, in their own minds, they are never quite good enough.

    If you believe you may have traits of perfectionism and it is causing you stress, there are things you can do to change your behavior so you can live a healthier and happier life.

    If you’d like to explore treatment options, please reach out to us at Riverside Psychology today.

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