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Perfectionism
Self-Defeating and Unhealthy

People who struggle with perfectionism have a difficult time with many things in life. It is the very reason for the anxiety and depression that many people feel. It is important to note that it has also been linked to anxiety disorders (including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), depressive disorders, eating disorders, alcoholism and many other destructive behaviors and problems.

Perfectionists are extremely hard workers. In fact, they are known for their great abilities. They are usually great achievers and they usually accomplish more than the average person. Give them a job to do, and they will go above and beyond what the average person would do. They will impress you with their generosity and their successes in life as they push for perfection in everything they do.

Don't be mistaken. A perfectionist is more than a person who works hard to do a good job, they are extremely hard on themselves in everything they do. The average person works hard and if they see something that isn't perfect, they leave it alone and accept it as is. The perfectionist, many times, will start over from the beginning until they get it right.

Their internal dialogue is one that pushes them to excel. They have high expectations of themselves and others, and most of these times their expectations are unrealistic.

They secretly believe they must do things perfectly. They are usually very disappointed and upset with themselves when things don't meet their expectations.

Failure is also not an option. The fear of failure is what keeps them motivated and working hard. If at any time, they believe that failure is a possibility, they have a tendency to avoid those things. Many times these people don't finish personal jobs they start because deep down they are afraid that the outcome will be as they wanted.

Perfectionists usually come from homes where they have overly critical parents or caregivers. Being around overly demanding and overly critical adults as a child, only creates adults that are overly critical and perfectionistic . This is a learned behavior that becomes a bad habit later on in life.

These people are also people that are capable of seeing the smallest details of imperfection when the average person would not notice them. They look at things as though they are looking at them under a magnifying glass. They are easily irritated by the smallest imperfections, especially when it comes to work they did themselves. The average person doesn't even pay attention to those kind of details.

For them, there is usually a great amount of stress, anxiety, and frustration when things don't go as planned.

How do you overcome perfectionism?

Overcoming this bad habit takes time and patience. It's important to note that when a person is trying to overcome this, it's normal and expected to have more anxiety at first.

Being a perfectionist is a bad habit. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to break it.

Challenge Your Thoughts

Write down your thoughts, especially the most self-critical ones. Use the questions listed under the positive thinking page to challenge your perfectionistic ideas. Without challenging your thoughts, you are accepting them as is and will not succeed. This sounds easy, but it's not. It takes real hard work to break this habit.

Give Yourself Permission

Practice giving yourself permission to be less than perfect. By giving yourself permission you are releasing the pressure to be perfect. Your performance anxiety is then dwindled and limited. Give yourself permission to fail. Many people have tried different things and have failed. Don't allow your fear of failure stop you from trying something new. Remember that no one is perfect!

Keep Realistic Expectations

Turn your unreal expectations of yourself and others into realistic ones. It is not realistic to expect perfection from anyone, not even yourself. by holding onto unrealistic expectations, you are only setting yourself up for disappointment and frustration. By lowing your expectations to a more realistic level, you will feel much better and less stress when something doesn't happen exactly the way you wanted it to.

Affirmations To Combat Perfectionism

I am not perfect. Nobody is perfect.

I don't have to be perfect. My best is good enough.

I accept the way I am.

If things don't go the way I want, it's okay, I accept that.

No one is perfect. It's okay to make mistakes.

Even if I don't succeed, it's okay, what matters is that I try my best.

It's important to note that your affirmations can be anything. It's best to use affirmations based on your personal self-talk. If you don't know what the thoughts are that go on in your mind that are critical and self-defeating then take time to journal! Remember journaling is an effective way to get in touch with what's going on in our minds. Journaling your thoughts helps to identify unrealistic thought.

Practice accepting those things that you can't change!

Recommended Reading

Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Jeannette Dewyze and Allan Mallinger

Return from Perfectionism to List Of Human Emotions

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