We live in a society that values things that appear perfect.  I suppose there are things that can be perfect. Architects can draw the "perfect" straight line, mathematicians can solve an equation with a "perfect" calculation, etc. But as human beings, we can never reach a state of perfection because we will always be a work in progress. Perfection indicates a finality – a finished product – but we as humans are always growing and changing.

What is Perfectionism?

There are some people who view perfectionism as a positive attribute. They believe the more “perfect” they are, the more success they will have in life.  People with perfectionist tendencies often have self-defeating thoughts and/or behaviors that actually make it HARDER to achieve their goals. Perfectionism also can make the increase 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. As an example, trying to get everything JUST RIGHT for a birthday gift. However, there are many folks who are “full-time” perfectionists and strive for perfection in all aspects of 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 perfectionist 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 a condition whereby the individual experiences difficulty feeling 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. A book I highly recommend reading is The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown.  She addresses the following guideposts as a way to live wholeheartedly and address perfectionism.
  1. Cultivating Authenticity- Letting Go of What Other People Think
  2. Cultivating Self-Compassion-Letting Go of Perfectionism
  3. Cultivating Your Resilient Spirit-Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
  4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy- Letting go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
  5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith- Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
  6. Cultivating Creativity-Letting Go of Comparison
  7. Cultivating Play and Rest- Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self-Worth
  8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness- Letting Go of Anxiety as a Lifestyle
  9. Cultivating Meaningful Work- Letting Go of Self-Doubt and "Supposed To"
  10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance- Letting Go of Cool and "Always in Control"
If you want to learn more about addressing perfectionism and learn about how it is your imperfections that are actually gifts, reach out to schedule a free consultation today!  SOURCES: