The Traps of Perfectionism: How to Stop Improving Everything

Perfectionists are people who “struggle for beauty in this world. Thanks to them we admire the parks and gardens of Britain and France, find pleasure in looking at the beautification of the countries of Scandinavia and much more in art and our life in general. You can notice this in yourself since your college years, when you do your homework, and even then give extra college homework help to your entire course because you can’t stop. Does this sound familiar to you?

A perfectionist always has a perfect image of how things should be. And will try with all his or her might to make it come true. But is it realistic? And what should you do if perfectionism has become a major hindrance?

If it is inherent in you and what challenges it entails, find out by passing a small test.

Test: how much you perfectionist

– Achieve the goal at any cost

Do you know this statement of the question? When the most important thing we have is our goal. When we want to achieve something so badly (e.g., get a promotion at work, finish a painting, write an article or book) that we are willing to work at it, ignoring our own well-being, relationships with others, our own needs. The process of accomplishment is irrelevant, and sometimes it is even very tedious and painful. There is no pleasure to be found in the process! The background is the thought, “When will this be over already?”

– Value is determined only by performance and efficiency

Are you familiar with the desire to evaluate your own day or your activities by the criterion of efficiency? It is extremely important for a perfectionist to have a result. And not just any result, but the best!

In the inner world of a person with perfectionism there is an equal sign between the success of the work done and his self-value. A logic like this unfolds: “What I do directly reflects how capable I am. And my level of ability determines how valuable I am as a person. The better I do, the higher my sense of self worth will be.”

– One negative detail can undo everything else

Have you ever had a situation where everything is going well, you like what you’ve done, and then a small detail drastically changes your opinion? For example, you’ve written some kind of expert post on the Web – you tried very hard, you put a lot of time into it, you proofread it well. People started reacting to it: some thanked, some reposted, and some commented. And suddenly – among these comments comes one very angry, devaluing and criticizing that you’re not an expert if you think so.

What will be your reaction? The perfectionist person will definitely be ready to cross out all those positive comments and reviews that came before.

Black-and-white thinking, high sensitivity to criticism, devaluing your own successes and working hard to get results are the main negative consequences of this process.

If you are familiar with what is described above, and you have most often answered “yes” to questions, think about it. It might be worth looking for options on how to make perfectionism not bring discomfort into your life. And in general not so affect you and your sense of self.

What to do to reduce perfectionism in your life:

Recognize the perfectionism in yourself. It’s not a disease, it’s just a characteristic of yours.

Remind yourself from time to time, “Perfect and perfect is something you can’t achieve in reality,” “You can be good enough, not perfect,” “I can be valuable for nothing,” “I can enjoy not only the result, but also the process.”

Learn to mark your small steps toward your goal and appreciate them. To make it easier to do this, you can keep a checklist of tasks completed, but not in a crossed-out format, but put a birdie and praise yourself.

Define the criteria for a successful result, but check that they are realistic.

Make mistakes and note what you’ve learned from them.

Perfectionism can be your tool, not your enemy. The important thing is to learn to recognize it, to use it in a balanced way. And be in touch with yourself every time there is a desire to improve your work, yourself and everything around you.