In today’s society, perfectionism seems widely accepted. After all, what’s wrong with high expectations? I get that. I believe in setting standards for your life and developing a self-awareness that drives me to become a little better every day, to pursue happiness, and excellence.There’s a fine line, though. Perfectionism is the enemy of Greatness.
Perfectionism is not about being obsessed with perfection. It’s an unhealthy need to do things perfectly, appear perfect, and have flawlessness surround you.
Perfectionism is driven by fear: fear of making mistakes, fear of disapproval, and fear of not meeting impossible standards and unattainable goals all to avoid or minimize shame, blame, and judgment.
I AM A RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST. I started to strive for perfection at a very early age and it was the cause of much frustration, disappointment, and ultimately, constant desires— and attempts —to end my life. Perfectionism is strongly linked to depression, anxiety, and other disorders, because it makes you feel like you are never good enough. Even our successes can be mistake-ridden with “I should have’s.”
Chasing the straight A’s starts in school, but becomes a way of life and a source of pain and suffering that can last a lifetime. When we chase anything external and let them determine our self-worth, we sabotage our own happiness. Crying about getting a B+ or feeling shame of ending up in second place is not a way to live.
Here are 21 signs you may be suffering from perfectionism:
- You’re terrified of being average.
- You’re proud of your work if it gets praise or approval.
- Failing makes you feel like a failure.
- You constantly let yourself down, no matter how well you do.
- You want others to think you’re the perfect wife, the perfect mom, or the perfect employee
- To you, mistakes mean incompetency.
- You want to succeed at every task and produce exceptional results every time, without exception.
- If your kids aren’t in the honor roll, you feel like a bad parent.
- In order to be respected, you must have materialistic goods, accomplishments, or achievements.
- It takes you a long time to bounce back from a failure.
- You feel the need to point out people’s mistakes because it’s the only way they will learn.
- When it comes to chores at home, you expect them to be done your way.
- You have to be in perfect physical shape in order to be considered attractive.
- The prospect of making a mistake worries you constantly.
- You don’t talk about your faults, because people will frown upon and look down on you.
- To encourage success, you choose to be tough on your children when they fail.
- You consistently fall short of your own expectations.
- You often have trouble saying NO because you don’t want to let anyone down.
- You exhaust yourself trying to be everything to everyone.
- You worry about what others think of you, because they may judge you.
- If you want things done right, you might as well do them yourself.
If you found yourself saying yes to any or many of these, don’t label yourself just yet. It’s wonderful to want to be, do, and have more, it’s the inflexibility that’s an issue.
Here are the top 5 reasons I don’t want to be a perfectionist:
- Seeking perfection makes me
unhappymiserable because perfection is unattainable in this life, for both myself and those around me.
- Who wants to start an impossible project that will lead to overwhelming disappointment? Not I! Perfectionism equals procrastination.
- Perfectionists are unintentional bullies because of their inflexibility, impatience, and intolerance. The “supposed to‘s” also make us critical, judgmental, and defensive!
- My top passion is “being deeply connected to God, self, and others,” and it is really difficult to connect with others when you are not open, vulnerable, and authentic. Hiding our fears, insecurities, and inadequacies, prevents us from truly connecting with others.
- It may sound cliché but Willy Wonka is not the only one who thinks to “blame the mother and the father.” I don’t want to pass the perfectionism gene down, so I remind myself what causes perfectionism in the first place:
- Hyper-critical or demanding parents.
- Parents that are quick to point out mistakes, yet slow to give credit.
- Parents who place high value in appearances and achievements.
- Parents with perfectionist standards or expectations on themselves
- Zero or very little parental approval.
I talk to my kids about my failures, my weaknesses, and my mistakes and strive to reinforce that no one is perfect and no one has to be!
Overcoming Perfectionism Is Just ONE Choice Away
I like a quote by Anthony Robbins that says “the more rules you have about how people have to be, how life has to be for you to be happy, the less happy you’re going to be.”
I decided long ago that I’m not going to wait to be happy/successful/good enough when I have … or when I do… or when I get…
I decided to let go of the perpetual feeling of not being “quite there yet” and rather to define success on my own terms, to feel
good amazing about myself right now… today, where I am.
If it was meant to be any other way, then it would be. How’s that for a positive motto?
Sure I am a success seeker and I want to grow. I foresee that I will continue to be that way, but not at the expense of my values, my sanity, or my relationships. I choose to forsake everything that proves to be a distraction from my purpose, my inner truth, the light I was called to shine.
I AM A RECOVERING PERFECTIONIST. It’s a DAILY choice to let go of this crippling, emotionally draining feeling of having it all together. I consciously choose to shed the stress, anxiety, worry, regret, guilt, shame, and fear, and to have JOY, BALANCE, and SUCCESS on my own terms.
Do you struggle with perfectionism? How do YOU deal with it?