Not “Better”, But Simply “Good”: How to Make Your Life Easier If You Are a Perfectionist

Perfectionists persistently pursue their goals and strive to be the best. This quality is useful, but at the same time it often spoils life and relationships with others. In some cases, perfectionism can even harm your health. Therefore, it is important to recognize the perfectionist in yourself and learn to be friends with him as equals.

What Is Perfectionism and Where Does It Come From?

Perfectionism is called the “striving for perfection.” This is not a disease, but a character trait. Perfectionists set a high standard for themselves and suffer greatly if they do not reach it. They vehemently criticize themselves for the slightest mistakes and feel shame and guilt for them. So, an excellent student can kill himself because of a B on a test. And the surgeon is worried that he has not yet headed the hospital department. Even if a perfectionist is praised, he still considers himself not good enough. The goals in his head are always better than those achieved.

Why Is Perfectionism Dangerous?

Although perfectionism helps us approach work and life in general more carefully, in its maladaptive form it can seriously hinder its owner.

Reduces Performance

Perfectionists work to the limit. Because of this, their productivity sooner or later drops. It is difficult for them to maintain a work-life balance and not think about work 24/7. At the same time, paradoxically, such workers may have problems with time management. Due to obsessive thoughts and fear of failure, they may procrastinate on a project.

Makes Personal Relationships Difficult

Communicating and living with a perfectionist can be difficult. He criticizes himself and others, demands approval and support, and disappears all day at work. Not everyone can build healthy relationships and start a family in this situation.

Spoils Health

And both mental and physical. Perfectionism increases stress levels. This in itself is bad, but it can provoke additional problems: anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, eating disorders, insomnia.

What to Do If You Are a Perfectionist

If perfectionism does not motivate, but only puts pressure on you, you can try to curb it. American psychiatrist David Burns suggested several methods.

Become “Normal” For the Next 30 Days

Try to accept that you are not perfect. No one is perfect – ideal is unattainable. Psychotherapist Tara McGrath advises thinking about whether you’ve ever met truly ideal people. Most likely not – everyone has made a mistake at least once in their life. It is important to remember that you are not an exception and do not have to be different from others. Don’t let fear control you.

Focus On the Process, Not the Results

Your goal is not to exceed your weekly plan, but to work consistently and productively every day. Set realistic deadlines for each task. Stick to them and don’t chase records.

To focus less on results, try breaking your goal down into small steps. For example, you need to prepare an abstract. To do this, you first read what others have written about the topic. Then you select good sources. Make a plan. Start writing the first chapter. Even if the essay is not ready yet, you will be able to evaluate your progress at each stage. Yes, there is nothing to send to the teacher yet. But you have already done several important things. This means we didn’t waste our time.

Take It Easy On Mistakes

We learn from mistakes, not from successes. Each of them does not throw you back, but, on the contrary, brings you closer to the goal. When you’re afraid to make a mistake, imagine the worst-case scenarios. Come up with a plan for every “disaster”.

Take a piece of paper, divide it into two columns and write down each scenario, and next to it your solution. This will help you calm down: no matter what happens, you will be fully prepared. It is important to remember that even the worst possible scenario is most likely not fatal.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

There will always be someone richer, more successful and smarter. But the more you look around at others, the more you criticize yourself. So, time after time, you will think that you are “not good enough” at something.

Psychologists advise, firstly, to clearly understand that such a comparison is harmful to you. Secondly, remember that you are initially putting yourself in a losing situation – comparing your worst qualities with the best qualities of other people. In addition, usually you only see the tip of the iceberg and do not know what a person has inside and what he really is like (maybe he makes good money, but does not get along with his loved ones).

Do Something Less than Perfect On Purpose

Of course, there is no need to fail an important work project. Start with the little things. Send a colleague an email with a typo. Leave alone a painting that hangs crookedly. This will help you see that the world can survive imperfection. Gradually, you will learn not to panic over such small “mistakes”, and toxic perfectionism will weaken.

It also happens that all of the above does not help. Take time to just breathe, relax playing roulette online game real money and spend time far from your anxiety.  Perfectionism poisons life so much that a person sleeps poorly, is afraid to try new things, and even stops going out. In this case, you should consult a psychotherapist. He will help you find the reasons for perfectionism, teach you how to set realistic goals and take care of yourself.


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