Surely, you have a perfectionist in your company (or you yourself are one), for whom everything is always perfect.
Perfectionism is difficult to give a positive or negative connotation. On the one hand, everything is under control, everything is ordered by size / color / alphabet (and sometimes by all criteria at once). But on the other hand, a constant ideal atmosphere can morally put pressure not only on others, but also on oneself. Let’s figure out together what this “perfectionism” is and when it turns into a disease.
In 1978, psychologist Don Hamachek distinguished between two types of perfectionists, “normal” and “neurotic”:
Normal perfectionists are people who set realistic standards for themselves, enjoy hard work, and are able to be less precise in certain situations.
Neurotic perfectionists are people who demand normally unattainable levels of performance from themselves, perceive their efforts as unsatisfactory, and are unable to lower their own standards.
Neurotic perfectionists, in fact, don’t just have high standards, they have incredibly high standards. This can lead to obsessive self-criticism, fear of failure, and procrastination.
When your perfectionism prevents you from reaching your goals, that’s when it becomes non-functional. For example, if you have a job and you have to do it by Wednesday, but because of your hyper-perfectionism you missed all the deadlines and turned it in later than Thursday because of the desire to make everything perfect, then this is already a problem.
When to sound the alarm?
Perfectionism goes from dysfunctional to truly harmful when combined with other negative tendencies such as self-criticism. At the moment, you can also add a range of problems such as eating disorders, anxiety and depression.
Perfectionists experience chronic stress, and stress is a mechanism that can cause or exacerbate various forms of psychological conditions. It is believed that this can cause many health problems, as well as weaken the immune system.
To know if you really are a perfectionist, just read the statements below and answer them for yourself. If most of the statements are about you, then you are the very perfectionist. So:
You demand the maximum return from yourself and cannot relax if you do not bring the matter to the end;
You are afraid to take on new projects and cases, afraid that they will not work out perfectly for you;
Do you think that people should do everything qualitatively and nothing else;
You spend a lot of time doing everyday things;
To be the best in everything is the credo of your life;
Do you value other people’s opinions more than your own?
You think that even a small oversight is unforgivable, neither to you nor to those around you;
Any mistake is a personal tragedy for you;
You try to protect yourself from people who do not strive for anything;
Highly dependent on the praise of others;
The people you value should not let you down;
You get too upset if you notice a mistake in your work.
How to manage your perfectionism?
If your perfectionism is causing you concern, and especially if it causes you to isolate yourself from society, then it may be worthwhile to get into therapy.
When perfectionism is a trait, it needs to be handled properly or it can escalate, so you need to learn how to manage it. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is helpful because it is a very common problem that has a solution.
The main focus should be on showing the perfectionist that while striving for perfection can bring some rewards, it also comes with potentially serious consequences and costs.
The key goal is to change from striving for excellence to striving for the “good enough” bar. The self-critical ways of perfectionists also need to be balanced – they usually see themselves as kindness as an excuse and weakness. But such people need to understand that they are not alone and that many other people are struggling with the same problems.
How to get rid of perfectionism?
There are five simple and effective ways to rid yourself of this feature once and for all:
accept the fact that everyone makes mistakes, even you. Give people a chance to make mistakes.
set specific deadlines for completing tasks: Wednesday means Wednesday.
make a to-do list in order of importance: priorities in the fight against perfectionism play an important role.
learn to praise yourself for the work done, and not just engage in self-criticism. Remember the phrase: “Until you praise yourself, no one will praise you.”
take breaks from work when you feel like you are in a state of stupor. Also, do not forget to rest in the time allotted for this, try to let everything go by itself.
Try to look at your perfectionism with a sober eye and ask friends or loved ones to evaluate your unique character trait. Perhaps your desire for the ideal is no longer as ideal as it might seem at first glance.