5 Signs You Might Be a Perfectionist
Have you found yourself excessively organizing and making lists? Or procrastinating and avoiding situations in which you might fail? Perhaps you’re a perfectionist.
And sorry to break it to you, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Perfectionism is the relentless striving for extremely high standards for yourself and others. This might sound good in the context of work or study, but really what it leads to is judging your self-worth based on the ability to achieve such unrelating goals. This causes distress, low self-esteem and symptoms of mental illness. Ouch!
But there are two main types of perfectionism. The first is the adaptive or “healthy” type which is all about having high standards, persistence in the face of adversity, and being thorough. This is the type that is often desired. Sure, it can be helpful in some areas of life, but it can lead to a more sinister sucker.
Maladaptive or “unhealthy” perfectionism is the excessive preoccupation with past mistakes, self-doubt about yourself and your abilities, and high investment in the expectations and judgement of other. Obviously, this is the bad guy perfectionism.
Still not sure about which type you have and whether it’s the good or bad?
Here are some common signs that you may be a perfectionist:
- You think in black and white, all-or-nothing terms:
Something is either right or wrong, good or bad. Black and white thinking is assuming something is either one extreme or the other. It’s when you’ve eaten something “bad” like a harmless cookie and “messed up your diet” so you “might as well eat them all?” Sound familiar? All or nothing.
- You can’t trust others to do the task for you:
You might see your actions as wanting to get the job done right, but others see it as micro-managing. You have to have control of the situation and/or do it yourself to get it “perfect”.
- You have very high standards for yourself and others:
You believe you have to be the best and expect others to be the same. You can’t look like a failure. Unfortunately, having unrelenting and unrealistic high standards for yourself and others isn’t fun or helpful for anyone and actually impairs performance.
- You procrastinate a lot:
You have trouble completing, or even starting, a project because you’re afraid it won’t be good enough. You might think “I might not be able to do it perfectly, so why try at all?”
- You use the word “should” a lot.
Using phrases like “I should do this,” and “I should be like that” are only hurting you. If you find that you’re kicking yourself for not doing something or for not being where and who you think you’re supposed to, you might need to take a look at the rules you’ve created for yourself. They’re getting in the way of your happiness.
If you find yourself agreeing with any of the above statements, it might be time to take a deeper look at the beast that is governing your life. The good news is that by changing the way you think, react and behave, you can ease its grip. Watch this space for an in-depth review of how to do just that.