Perfectionism: The Good - Deepstash

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The Perfectionism Paradox

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.

Elite performers are often perfectionists as their activity requires error-free performance.

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Perfectionist Behavior
Perfectionist Behavior

Perfectionist behavior is a broad personality trait prevalent in today's generation. It is defined as a hypercritical relationship with one's self.

While setting high standards for oneself can be deemed as a positive quality, but perfectionism more or less assumes that we are flawed or defective.

Perfectly Curated Life

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

  • Modern parenting
  • Competitive economy
  • Consumerism and advertising
  • Social Media.
Perfectionism x1000

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.

Positive and destructive perfectionism
Positive and destructive perfectionism

Constructive or healthy perfectionism is a personality trait that is associated with finding enjoyment and fulfilment from doing things well. The focus is process-oriented, where you learn from your mistakes.

A darker side of perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system where the person thinks a perfect life can prevent or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment and blame. This form of perfectionism involves trying to constantly meet perceived expectations of what 'perfect' is.

The roots of destructive perfectionism

A possible explanation of why people develop unhealthy perfectionism is that they grow up without a sense of support, safety, and nurturing. Another reason can be a reaction to childhood trauma or extreme cultural expectations, where appearing perfect is a strategy for survival.

The consequence of destructive perfectionism is often deep-seated emotional difficulties and unresolved traumatic experiences that might eventually turn into a potentially severe depression.

Traits of a perfectly hidden depression syndrome
  1. Your perfectionism is fueled by a constant, critical inner voice of intense shame or fear.
  2. You demonstrate an excessive sense of responsibility and look for solutions.
  3. You are unable to accept and express painful emotions.
  4. You dismiss or discount abuse or trauma.
  5. You worry a lot and avoid situations where you're not in control.
  6. You are highly focused on tasks and expectations and validate yourself with your accomplishments.
  7. You have an active and sincere concern for the wellbeing of others, while seldom allowing anyone into your inner world.
  8. You feel you have to acknowledge your gratitude.
  9. You have emotional difficulty with personal intimacy.
  10. You might have anxiety and control issues, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic and eating disorders.
Learn To Handle Criticism
Learn To Handle Criticism

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

Constructive criticism can show you how to improve, making your less-than-perfect performances into steps towards excellence. If the criticism you’re receiving is pointed or harsh, it’s okay to remind others and yourself that mistakes are a great way to learn.

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.