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8 Signs You're a Perfectionist (and Why It's Toxic to Your Mental Health)

Not Allowing Yourself To Fail

Instead of forgiving and viewing mistakes as a learning opportunity, you criticize and put pressure on yourself for not predicting a less than perfect outcome. You feel inadequate, and these feelings preoccupy your mind, often to the point of losing productivity.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

8 Signs You're a Perfectionist (and Why It's Toxic to Your Mental Health)

8 Signs You're a Perfectionist (and Why It's Toxic to Your Mental Health)

https://www.inc.com/marla-tabaka/8-signs-youre-a-perfectionist-and-why-its-toxic-to-your-mental-health.html

inc.com

8

Key Ideas

Not Celebrating Your Success

It's never good enough, so you get sucked so far into the details that you become frustrated.

Even when your goal is complete and results in success, you believe you could and should have done it better.

Pursuing Perfection, But Never Feeling Perfect

Even if you have a clear goal of what perfection means, obsessively pursuing it is a sign of insecurity.

And insecurity, when not addressed directly, doesn’t go away because a concrete objective has been achieved, it manifests itself into self-criticism or a new overvalued goal.

Not Allowing Yourself To Fail

Instead of forgiving and viewing mistakes as a learning opportunity, you criticize and put pressure on yourself for not predicting a less than perfect outcome. You feel inadequate, and these feelings preoccupy your mind, often to the point of losing productivity.

Pretending Everything Is Perfect

Perfectionists are afraid of judgment. They often want to be seen as being effortlessly perfect.

Avoiding Challenges That May Lead To Failure

When presented with an opportunity that requires new skills or moving outside of your comfort zone, you're likely to turn it down. You're afraid to not be good enough to tackle a new learning curve and to be seen as a failure or a disappointment.

Likeability and Being Perfect

Personality and positive qualities like honesty, compassion, humor, etc. , aren't what perfectionists believe people will like about them.

It's not enough to be a wonderful person, you must be a perfectly wonderful person. You don't allow others to see your flaws and most likely you talk about your achievements, but never your failures.

Life Doesn't Satisfy You

Perfectionists cope well in a low-stress environment. Outside of that, anxiety often increases, which offers the illusion that nothing is going well, thereby decreasing life satisfaction.

Struggling With Getting Things Done

You may get things done, but you are in a constant battle with the decisions and motivation to complete certain things. The "what ifs" and expectation of a negative consequence or result preoccupies you and the pressure can be overwhelming.

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Perfectionism is a growing cultural phenomenon that has engulfed a large set of people including celebrities. Some of the causes are:

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  • Social Media.
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Social Media acts as the biggest culprit in amplifying perfectionism as youngsters can constantly compare their looks and their lives to others in easily measurable ways.

There is an increased expectation from our family and our peers to be perfect in all aspects of our lives.

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Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress
Do a weekly review to reflect on your progress

Try to identify things you avoided due to fear of failure and situations where your perfectionism wasn’t worth it or moments where you did well despite being uncertain.

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Get an outside perspective on your perfectionist tendencies

Talk honestly and openly to someone about your tendencies and how you’re working on getting better.

Ask them to tell you when you are being too fussy about something so you can think about it.

Interrupting the cycle of rumination
  • Take note of when you’re ruminating and what triggers it until you can see your patterns and find ways to counteract them.
  • Don't trust your first reaction when ruminating. Most of the time, it colors negatively your read of the situation.
  • Seek a diversion to break the rumination cycle.
  • Think positively: remembering your successes and times you tried new things helps you to not be avoidant of tasks you can’t do perfectly.

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Perfectionism: The Good

The good aspects of being perfect are intrinsic motivation, extreme focus, ambitious goals, strong work ethic and high personal standards. They are also highly coachable.

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"“Looking for perfection is the only way to motivate yourself.”

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Consider Your Constraints

"In the business world, decisions need to be made in a certain time with a certain budget. Remember your work is not about being perfect, but providing the best insight yo...

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"Find what is the smallest and most important thing to work on, get feedback, and keep iterating. Focus on who is impacted by your work and engaged them often. It's a journey." - Alan Trivedi, Trivedi Coaching & Consulting Group

Define And Visualize Success

"Reflect and visualize what success looks like. What are you trying to solve for? Jot it down on paper and compare your work objectively to this success criteria. Work with a trusted colleague if it helps bring clarity." - Christie Lindor, The MECE Muse

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Learn To Handle Criticism
Learn To Handle Criticism

If criticism makes you defensive, an attitude change can help.

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Set Reasonable Goals

Perfectionists tend to set goals of unreasonable excellence with no learning curve or room for error.

Dividing your goals into more achievable steps and rewarding yourself when you achieve them, will make you less stressed, less likely to give up and more forgiving of mistakes.

Alter Your Self-Talk In a Positive Way

Perfectionists tend to be very self-critical but this can perpetuate unhealthy behaviors and decrease their self-esteem.

By altering your self-talk positively, you can better enjoy life and gain an increased appreciation for yourself and your work.

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Perfectionism and to-do lists

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Break down projects

 ... into manageable tasks. 

This way, you're armed with a set of concrete actions to take rather a vague cloud of high expectations.

Define the next action

... rather than all subsequent steps.

Focusing only on the next action gives you permission to work on something even if you don’t have it all figured out—which is crucial to completing tasks that in the past have left you paralyzed.

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Constant Mental Punishment

The trait of perfectionism constantly makes a person judge, compare and criticize suboptimal decisions or mistakes in any aspect of the daily routine.

A person starts having mental difficulties, striving to do everything the perfect way, but falling short eventually.

The Voice In The Head

Perfectionism is a voice in our head, constantly fed by the media and society's ideals, coaxing us into doing things in the best way, to get the desired results. 

It is useful in its purpose but in extremities can have negative effects on the body and mind.

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It can either propel you into serious action or paralyze your ability to accomplish even the most basic tasks.

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Accept the outcome

If you’re struggling with the thought of submitting a task that you feel is less than perfect, create a list of the worst-case scenarios.

Ask yourself what's the worst that can happen. You'll most likely find out that the only negative aspect is the continuous rumination that'll keep you from finishing other important work.

Shifting your perspective

The positive side of perfectionism is the idea that you possess the motivation and a level of detailed attention that is unmatched by many.

The trouble happens, though, when you get so caught up in the details that you fail to see the bigger picture.

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3 types of perfectionism
  • Self-oriented: the irrational desire to be perfect.
  • Socially prescribed: perceiving excessive expectations from others.
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Perfectionism harms productivity

Seeking perfection can create paralysis that hurts productivity. 

You procrastinate to distract yourself from the big scary tasks you have to do. And you end up beating yourself up later because you wasted so much time.

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Julie Morgenstern

“Perfectionism is a pretty rampant problem (...) It may be worse in an era of social media where everybody’s posting the most curated, best, perfect lives and achievements. We’re constantly surrounding by the best way, the perfect way, the right way in our personal and our work lives.” 

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