Perfectionism is a tough master of tasks. It is a two-headed monster that tells you that you are not good enough or that it makes you feel better than others. If that’s not confusing enough, the researchers say there are some positives to being a perfectionist. How do you know if you are a perfectionist? Here are 10 behaviors that can help you decide whether perfectionism rules your life and how to stop or encourage it.
What is a perfectionist?
Everyone struggles to want to be perfect. It is addictive. It may seem like you want a perfect relationship, be a perfect parent, or have the perfect job. This is very normal. Most people know that perfection is not achievable, but for some people, perfectionism drives them to strive for unrealistic goals or unattainable ideals.
There has been a lot of research on the dark side of perfectionism, but researchers find that there may be a silver lining to some perfectionistic behaviors.
1 – Positive perfectionist behavior
Some healthy aspects studies show, what is called “normal perfectionism.” individuals who have high standards without having negative self-evaluation mixed in with them are normal perfectionists. These people have high standards, but they don’t worry about making mistakes. If you are a normal perfectionist, you can adjust even despite your striving for excellence.
2 – Negative perfectionistic behavior
Studies Show that if you are a negative perfectionist, you will have unrealistic goals and extreme standards. You will tend to feel that it is imperative to be perfect and you can punish yourself if you don’t achieve what you feel is perfection. The unrealistic goals of the negative perfectionist usually fail, leaving you feeling anxious, inadequate, and depressed.
10 behaviors of a negative perfectionist
It is important to understand what motivates you to do what you do. If you suspect you are a negative perfectionist, here are 10 behaviors to look for in yourself.
1 – You feel anxiety when you make a mistake
Recent studies found that there is a clear connection between perfectionistic behavior and anxiety. If you are a perfectionist, you will try to avoid mistakes at all costs. Sometimes you will miss the opportunity to learn new things because of this. Mistakes are big events for you if you are a perfectionist. They increase your anxiety about your performance at work, at school, and even at home. You will be prone to overthinking a failed situation to the point of exhaustion because you cannot let it go. You can blame yourself, or you will seek to blame someone else.
2 – Discontent
When you are a negative perfectionist, you are constantly frustrated by the imperfections, the looks, the family, and the house of your life. Its standard of measurement is quite high. Even if you know that it is not possible to be perfect in all these aspects of life, you will continue to feel unhappy. The strange thing is that some perfectionists set these high standards but don’t do the hard work that may be necessary to achieve goals. Is a counterproductive way of living.
3 – Critic of others
Perfectionists are often very critical of others. The standard of measurement they use for others is as unattainable as the one they set for themselves. Still, they will be very frustrated that others do not meet these standards.
4 – Performance oriented
If you struggle with perfectionism, you will fear that you will not be accepted. You try to be perfect to protect yourself from rejection. Getting approval from other people is very important to you. You can dress, talk, and act like someone you admire because you think you will be more accepted if you are like them rather than yourself. Some perfectionist adults are very successful, but they struggle with feelings of insecurity about what people think of them.
5 – Body image problems
The pursuit of perfection can result in body image problems. You can exercise to the extreme or have an eating disorder to stay slim. When you get compliments on how good you look, it fuels your perfectionism. You perceive that thinness and be physically fit with the standard of perfection.
6 – feel like a failure
As a perfectionist, your thinking can be distorted by your own perception of perfection. As a perfectionist, you can feel two things simultaneously: it is a complete failure or a complete success. You have no middle ground. It is an all or nothing vision of life. That’s why you can get work accommodations for doing a good job but still feeling like a failure at your job. Perfectionists always feel like they should have done more.
7 – Overcompensate
If you are a perfectionist, you may be exaggerated to the extreme. You can overcompensate for fear that something will go wrong. If you are in leadership, you will micromanage people to verify that everything is done perfectly and that all your standards are met. This is difficult for the people you manage, who may feel you don’t trust your ability or judgment at work.
As a perfectionist, you worry about what others think of you, so getting constructive feedback is really hard to accept. Even if it is shared in a good way, it still feels like disapproval. You will feel defensive and ready to defend yourself. It makes sense since you have a strong desire to be successful, but it can backfire because feedback could help you be successful.
9 – Extremely cautious in life
Studies found that the most successful people are not perfectionists. This is because perfectionism gets in the way of your creativity, productivity, and risk-taking. When you are a perfectionist, you fight a lot of fears. Your fear of failure can stifle risk-taking, or the fear of being humiliated will prevent you from being independent.
10 – Procrastinate
Do you make a lot of plans, spend a lot of time trying to get organized, but never get anything done? This is a strange habit of perfectionists who have high goals for themselves and for life, but are intimidated to go out and try as they cannot do it perfectly. Writers are notorious for brainstorming ideas for a book, establishing its plot, characters, and conflicts, but never sitting down to write the book.
Why are you a perfectionist?
Many things can contribute to being a perfectionist. Basically, at the root of all perfectionism is the thought that your self-esteem is based on your achievements.
These things can influence this thinking:
- Cultural Expectations: Certain cultures set high expectations for children to achieve academic achievement. It can carry over into adulthood.
- Need to control your life: If you grew up in a chaotic home, you may as an adult feel the need to control your life by being a perfectionist.
- Rigid parenting: If your parents had rigid rules, you may feel the need to strive for perfection. A good achievement may have matched love and attention.
- Too Much Praise for Your Achievement: Parents can inadvertently make their children feel like they need to act to gain their love when they praise their children excessively.
There is no single cause of perfectionism. It is usually a combination of your education, your personality, and your experiences. So if you wonder why you are a perfectionist, you may never know. But finding out that you are a perfectionist is half the battle. Now, you can begin to loosen the grip that perfectionism has on your life.
How to stop being a perfectionist
1 – acknowledge it
When perfectionism rears its ugly head, get ready to see it. Remember that high standards are fine, but don’t mix it up with your self-assessment. Don’t let your high standards keep you from taking risks or accepting constructive criticism that can help you grow.
2 – Don’t believe everything you say to yourself
Like everyone else, you have a conversation going on inside your head. Stop listening to the critical things you say to yourself and start telling yourself the truth. Tell yourself that your self-esteem is not based on your accomplishments, your appearance, or how smart you are. You are more than your achievements and you are more than your mistakes. Perfectionism wants you to believe that you are better than others or that you are worse than others. Don’t believe any lies.
3 – It will take time to change, and that’s okay
Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes, and you won’t change in a day, not in a week, not even in a week. Tiny, consistent daily steps toward freedom from perfectionism is how change happens. Try to lower your rigid goals for yourself and others. Be more willing to forgive the mistakes of others. Find joy in small victories, like not feeling like a failure if you make a mistake.
Perfectionism is tough. Master your mind and limit your ability to be yourself. Once you realize that you have perfectionistic behaviors, you can begin to loosen the tight grip you have in your life. You can enjoy the freedom of not being too cautious because you are afraid of making a mistake or feel self-condemned for not having reached perfection.