Do you struggle with perfectionism?

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'm a recovering perfectionist - by Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM

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:

  1. You’re terrified of being average.
  2. You’re proud of your work if it gets praise or approval.
  3. Failing makes you feel like a failure.
  4. You constantly let yourself down, no matter how well you do.
  5. You want others to think you’re the perfect wife, the perfect mom, or the perfect employee
  6. To you, mistakes mean incompetency.
  7. You want to succeed at every task and produce exceptional results every time, without exception.
  8. If your kids aren’t in the honor roll, you feel like a bad parent.
  9. In order to be respected, you must have materialistic goods, accomplishments, or achievements.
  10. It takes you a long time to bounce back from a failure.
  11. You feel the need to point out people’s mistakes because it’s the only way they will learn.
  12. When it comes to chores at home, you expect them to be done your way.
  13. You have to be in perfect physical shape in order to be considered attractive.
  14. The prospect of making a mistake worries you constantly.
  15. You don’t talk about your faults, because people will frown upon and look down on you.
  16. To encourage success, you choose to be tough on your children when they fail.
  17. You consistently fall short of your own expectations.
  18. You often have trouble saying NO because you don’t want to let anyone down.
  19. You exhaust yourself trying to be everything to everyone.
  20. You worry about what others think of you, because they may judge you.
  21. 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:

  1. Seeking perfection makes me unhappy miserable because perfection is unattainable in this life, for both myself and those around me.
  2. Who wants to start an impossible project that will lead to overwhelming disappointment? Not I! Perfectionism equals procrastination.
  3. Perfectionists are unintentional bullies because of their inflexibility, impatience, and intolerance. The “supposed to‘s” also make us critical, judgmental, and defensive!
  4. 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.
  5. 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

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?

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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95 thoughts on “Do you struggle with perfectionism?

  1. I am all or nothing, if I feel like I will be good at it, I will try it- if not, I don’t even put myself out there…I think it holds me back from potentially amazing opportunities because I am afraid of looking stupid or failing. I never considered myself a perfectionist, but maybe that is what it is. Interesting.

  2. I am not a perfectionist but I strive to be perfect. Well, not perfect BUT the best I can be. I try to teach my girls the same thing. Making mistakes is part of life but if we strive to do our best.. that’s all we can do.

  3. I definitely suffer from perfectionism and it is something i constantly battle with because it hinders me from getting anything creative done! I loved your post, great stuff!

  4. I definitely recognize some of those perfectionist symptoms! But, I’m pretty flexible and realize that not everything is perfect to everyone’s standards and that I’ve got to just let the little things go.

  5. Luckily I am only guilty of a couple of those. I know people who suffer from this though, I think it is sad to put so much pressure on yourself.

  6. I loved this post, brought back some memories. I was a perfectionist years ago, but got too tired with age and life. Slow down and breathe! Thanks for a great visit.

  7. I was always a perfectionist and spent so much time procrastinating because I knew I could never meet my own standards. Then someone told me, “Done is better than perfect,” and that became my philosophy. It has been life changing!

  8. I wouldn’t say that I’m a perfectionist (you should see the inside of my car) but my mom sure is. Goodness I feel like I can’t touch anything or let the kids go over there because she can’t stand one thing to be out of place. I answered her phone for her the other day and as soon as I hung up she was disinfecting it. What the…? 🙂 I wish you luck with your recovery.

  9. Luckily I have never been a total perfectionist! I tend to take things as they come and always try to do my personal best. I do not, however, get upset if my best isn’t what the rest of the world thinks is perfect!

  10. This is really interesting. I have never seen myself as perfect and struggle with mental health disorders. So, I often feel like I am in my own little bubble. I know I am not going to be perfect so I don’t really push myself in some areas in life.

  11. I use to be really bad about perfection but then i had a son and he taught me it’s okay if everything doesn’t go as planned or is perfect. Now i’m okay with being messy.

  12. I am not a perfectionist….in fact, I am far from it. I do know some people that are very intense perfectionists.

  13. I am really close to being a perfectionist that’s for sure. It can be miserable at times trying to be perfect and then not reaching the bar I’ve set for myself. I’m working on it though. Great post!

  14. Another sign of perfectionism: You find a reason to be unhappy with what you did, especially after you get praise for it. I mean it wasn’t TOTALLY perfect after all. And people just praised you because they couldn’t see the faults that you KNOW are there.

    • Oh wow… this was SO me! You hit the nail in the head, Joanna. It is so sad how hard we can be on ourselves. Comparison is the thief of joy for sure! I’ve heard of gold medalists that felt like that even at the moment of receiving their medal. What a waste of life that is.

  15. I wouldn’t say that I strive to be perfect but I do love to be organized. I embrace all of my imperfections. They are what make me …well me.

  16. Great post indeed. I have recently found out that I am bit of a perfectionist. It is not worth the energy you waste to try to be perfect. If you screw up than learn from it and move on. Thanks for sharing,

  17. I think as moms- it comes with the package. But we learn to take our scrapped knees and our ouchies as they come and little by little we learn to just love who we are.

  18. Everyone has their own perfectionism. It’s a nice idea though to keep parents communicate with their kids so they won’t feel so bad about having failures. It’s a part of life and sometimes you can learn from it.

  19. Interesting post Elayna on an issue that is such a pain point for so many people. I think there’s a fine line between having a natural inclination toward improving things and getting stuck in perfectionism. One is healthy, the other toxic. As with most situations, self-awareness is the key to finding our way.

  20. Straight A’s in school, I chased…from kid school all the way on up to graduate level. I remember it felt like I got punched in the heart when I got an A- once, lolol

    Then we went on a fabulous once-in-a-lifetime vacation during mid-terms, and I got a ‘B.’ I was okay w/it because it felt like I chose to get the lower grade, if that makes any sense at all. 😉

    Now I do nothing that even requires any of my degrees. Funny how life works. 🙂

    • Hehehe I love this story, Rosey, because as a straight A’s – 4.0 kind of girl, I have chosen to homeschool and ditched the entire grade system. I am sure your degrees are symbol of excellence but really and bring you great pride, but like you said, there are more important “things” to chase in life. 🙂

  21. I think I am a perfectionist. Mine is related to my anxiety. I fear being less than perfect because I am afraid of the confrontation or criticism that comes with it.

  22. I’m guilty of three things on that list. #14 – I do worry about making a mistake and when I do, I dwell on it a bit (to myself though). #18 – I have a problem saying NO, especially when it comes to clients…I don’t want to let them down and #19 – I do get exhausted being a ‘rock’ for my intermediate family members, but I do get enjoyment when they are happy, safe and sane.

  23. What a lots of lists signs of perfectionism. I don’t think I am perfectionism person, although sometimes I worry with No.20 but then hubby said the most important thing that you are happy don’t thing about other 😀

  24. And let me begin by stepping up to the podium and sharing that yes, I am a recovering perfectionist! Great article and advice. Little did I know that publishing my first book 3 years ago would be the single greatest strategy to overcome my perfectionist tendencies! There is simply no way to produce and do all the marketing and details associated with the business of being an author AND be a perfectionist. So it comes down to priorities. Thanks for the great tips and inspiration!

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