Positive and destructive perfectionism - Deepstash
How to get over ‘never good enough’ | Psyche Guides

How to get over ‘never good enough’ | Psyche Guides

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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.

Healing from unhealthy perfectionism

If you believe you are an unhealthy perfectionist and that it could be masking your own deep-rooted emotional problems, the following stages can benefit you.

  • Consciousness: Becoming aware that your perfectionism is a problem.
  • Commitment: Change the goal of commitment to that of intention.
  • Confrontation: Confronting your personal beliefs.
  • Connection: Connecting with feelings you've long suppressed.
  • Change: Changing your behaviour.

Being aware of your perfectionism

Becoming aware of your perfectionism can be very complicated because you've convinced yourself that your perfectionist traits are normal and not a problem. It is good to understand that not everyone is like this.

An exercise to develop more insight into the role that destructive perfectionism plays is mindfulness. Sit somewhere comfortable and set a timer for five minutes. Breathe deeply and close your eyes. Stay focused on your breath. If your mind wanders, gently let go of those thoughts and refocus on your breath. When the timer goes off, check your emotions, such as irritation, relief, feeling foolish. Simply notice and watch them dissipate.

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.

The stumbling blocks preventing you from challenging perfectionism

  1. Adopting such a rigid commitment that if you fail, you'll quit.
  2. Beginning with a goal that's too hard or too big.
  3. Going at your goal alone without accepting help.
  4. Dealing with the fear and shame of giving up your persona.
  5. Worsening mental difficulties such as OCD or an eating disorder.

The first two potential stumbling blocks can be mastered by changing the goal of commitment to that of intention. The third stumbling block can be conquered by reflecting on the instances where it would have been good to ask for help and considering scenarios with what you could've said or done. Journaling is the best way to overcome the fourth stumbling block. The fifth block is a reminder that you might need to put this work of halt for a time while attending to anxiety or another disorder.

Changing your behavior

Seeing the positive results from the efforts you are making in dealing with destructive perfectionism will give you hope.

Go through the ten traits associated with perfectionism-fuelled depression, and with support from friends or family, think about specific ways you can risk behaviour change. Every small change is a win and worthy of celebration.

Confronting your personal beliefs

Rules and beliefs interact. Your beliefs are something you accept to be true. Your rules govern your behaviour. Your rules can limit or expand your beliefs.

Confronting your personal beliefs is about identifying the rules you live by, then considering if they are still rules you want to follow. If a rule doesn't serve you well, write one out that could replace it.

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.

Connecting with lost feelings

You might be more aware of your own vulnerability and tendency to withdraw. However, if you don't connect with and process your emotional hurt, anger or sadness, they will govern your life.

In a supportive environment, create a timeline, then write 2, 4, 8, 12, 20, etc., on your timeline. Fill in both the good and hurtful things that occurred to you. The goal is to acknowledge the good and the bad. Connecting with pain teaches that you can tolerate it and that your vulnerabilities don't define you.

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CURATED BY

elenxx

Mediation and midnfulness really do change your perspective on life, it did for me.

MORE LIKE THIS

I've always been struggling with being less productive and less accomplished until I've discovered that I actually suffer from perfectionism. This article had helped me at that time to start thinking differently and getting things done appropriately !