Are You A Perfectionist?
Are you an intelligent, achievement-oriented person who is struggling in one or more areas of life due to behaviors like these?
- You take excessive amounts of time to get things done – even the things that you’re good at – because you want everything to be just right.
- You find it difficult to maintain long-term friendships and relationships because people constantly disappoint you by not living up to your personal values and standards.
- You find it hard to make decisions (even about inconsequential things) because you are afraid of making a mistake.
- You find yourself doing the same things over and over (such as cleaning a counter or writing a letter) because you are constantly trying to improve on the task that you have just done.
- You are unduly stressed and anxious in any situation where there are no clear-cut rules and procedures in place to guide your behavior (or when those around you are not in compliance with the rules).
If so, you may be a perfectionist and – contrary to popular belief – this is not a good thing at all!
Perfectionism is a form of all-or-nothing thinking that causes us to see the world in terms of black and white, good or bad, all or nothing. When something does not live up to the impossibly high standards we or others have set for us, we have a hard time finding worth and value in it. When we make a mistake, we find it hard to forgive ourselves. And, when our spouses, friends and co-workers fail to live up to our standards (as they inevitably will), we find ourselves at odds with the people who matter the most to us.
Did you know that perfectionism is linked to the following types of mental health disorders?
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Suicidal Risk
Constantly striving to attain the impossible goal of perfectionism in our lives is an exhausting way to live – one that’s guaranteed to steal our joy. The good news is that a qualified therapist can help us to recognize and overcome any perfectionist tendencies we may have!
A Good Therapist Can Help!
A good therapist listens carefully as you share your concerns and helps you identify the root cause of your issues. He or she may also provide you with the opportunity to complete a specialized assessment tool like the Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale (MPS™). This tool provides you and your therapist with insight into the motivational, interpersonal, and cognitive aspects of your perfectionistic behavior. Tools like this help the therapist to develop a customized and effective treatment plan for you.
What are some of the insights and outcomes you should gain by treating yourself to the gift of therapy? A good therapist helps you to learn the following skills:
- Recognize the “all-or-nothing” thoughts and the procrastinating behaviors that often signify the onset of a perfectionist episode.
- Identify the root causes behind your perfectionist behavior. Often fear – such as the fear of failure, the fear of embarrassment and not measuring up, and the fear of rejection – lurk behind our desire for perfectionism.
- Re-frame your thoughts. One way to do this is to replace any negative self-talk with a positive affirmation, such as “Progress, not perfection!”
- Overcome your fear of failure and your resistance to change by taking a class or pursuing a new hobby, so you can see how “failure” is part of the learning process!
- Learn how to cope with failures, messes, and less-than-perfect situations as they arise.
As you become proficient in applying these skills, you will discover that living an open, authentic and imperfect life is far more rewarding than always constantly for perfectionism!
Share Your Thoughts
Are you a perfectionist?
How does perfectionism manifest in your life?
What’s your best tip for overcoming perfectionism?
Please share your thoughts in the comments!
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