When was the last time you laughed at yourself because you committed an inconsequential slipup? Were you able to laugh at your silliness? Or were you seething with anger at yourself for committing a blooper? If you were fuming mad at yourself, then you could be a perfectionist.
As humans, we make mistakes. We become ridiculous sometimes. We make wrong decisions, we can even fall in love with the wrong people! Making mistakes isn’t supposed to cause us continual grief. They are simply indicators that we were not designed to be perfect, even if we want to be.
There are disadvantages of extreme fussiness, and wanting everything to be perfect. It doesn’t just hold you back from being your most fruitful, creative self.
Perfectionist tendencies have been associated with a long list of clinical issues – anxiety and depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, chronic fatigue, chronic stress, insomnia, and the list goes on and on.
Signs of Wanting to Be Perfect
Perfectionism is distinctly characterized by a craving for absolute flawlessness. A perfectionist is inflexible and rigid about their desired level of performance and holds a corresponding ‘all-or-nothing’ judgment of their capabilities. If they fall short of their chosen standards, it means absolute failure to them.
Here are some indicators that you may have fallen into a ‘wanting to be perfect’ trap, or you truly are a perfectionist to the core. If you think you have these traits, then it would be wise to try to be not quite so perfect! Your mental and emotional health will improve and help you live a longer and happier life.
In a group project, you inevitably take the lead and decide what task goes to who. While walking the extra mile is a great attitude, it becomes detrimental if you’re doing it just to make sure that everything is done the right way and you insist on doing things your way. For you, others can never be right. You have a difficult time working in a group if you are not in control.
Delegation – Big NO-NO
Even when the tasks at hand are too much for you, you never give others a chance to help you and that’s because you don’t trust that others will do the right thing. You think that you need to have a grip on everything so that the output will be right. It is your belief that once you delegate tasks, things won’t be as good as they should be, or worse, they will go haywire.
No Mistakes For You
A person with a positive mindset will allow for mistakes and learn from them. A perfectionist finds it hard to forgive themselves for committing a blunder. Instead of seeing the mistake as a learning opportunity, they condemn and put pressure on themselves for not foreseeing every possible problem.
You feel laughable and insufficient, even stupid. These emotions cause you feelings of lack of self-worth,sometimes to an extent that you lose all productivity.
Criticism Makes You Defensive
It is normal for anyone to get upset when someone says something harsh or says a negative comment about them. However, there’s a huge difference between a punishing statement and one intended to help you improve. A perfectionist will have a hard time distinguishing between the two and will often hit out at a constructive comment.
You Cannot Celebrate Your Success
For you, nothing is ever good enough. Despite meeting and completing your goal, you believe you could and should have done it better. A perfectionist doesn’t recognize the minor ‘wins’ and cannot feel the pleasure and fulfillment of a job well done. Instead, flaws are always found. For you, something is always wrong, even though the outcome may be exactly what was expected.
Other People’s Approval is Everything
In your mind, other people must be the judge of your work. You find it hard to judge your own accomplishments. If you do, it’s usually a negative comment to yourself. You desire their endorsement and appreciation above all else. To you, it’s all that matters! You focus more on what people will say about your efforts than the undertaking itself.
Wanting to be perfect is an impossible goal. If you become obsessed with it, you are ultimately setting up yourself for failure and emotional distress.