Therapy for Anxiety
Become comfortable with “good enough”
Perfectionism refers to a set of self-defeating thoughts and behaviors aimed at reaching excessively high unrealistic goals. Perfectionism is often mistakenly seen in our society as desirable or even necessary for success. However, recent studies have shown that perfectionistic attitudes actually interfere with success. The desire to be perfect can both rob you of a sense of personal satisfaction and cause you to fail to achieve as much as people who have more realistic strivings.
Causes of perfectionism
If you are a perfectionist, it is likely that you learned early in life that other people valued you because of how much you accomplished or achieved. As a result you may have learned to value yourself only on the basis of other people’s approval. Thus your self-esteem may have come to be based primarily on external standards. This can leave you vulnerable and excessively sensitive to the opinions and criticism of others. In attempting to protect yourself from such criticism, you may decide that being perfect is your only defense.
A number of the following negative feelings, thoughts, and beliefs may be associated with perfectionism:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of making mistakes
- Fear of disapproval
- “All or nothing” or “Black or White” thinking
- Overemphasis on “should’s,” “right or wrong,” and “good or bad.”
- Low self-esteem
- Setting unrealistic, high standards for yourself and others that lead to conflict and negative inner dialogue
What can I do?
The first step in changing from perfectionistic attitudes to healthy striving is to realize that perfectionism is undesirable. Perfection is an illusion that is unattainable. The next step is to challenge the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that fuel perfectionism.
Again, perfectionism is not the same thing as doing your best. It is a condition whereby the individual is almost incapable of feeling joy or pride at what they accomplish because in their own minds, they are never quite good enough.
If you believe you may have traits of perfectionism and it is causing you stress, there are things you can do to change your behavior so you can live a healthier and happier life.
If you’d like to explore treatment options, please schedule your complimentary, 15-minute Discovery Call now.