Perfectionism is the need to achieve or the need to be perfect constantly. It is viewed more as a positive trait, rather than seeing it as a flaw and people may often use “Healthy Perfectionism” in order to justify their perfectionism traits. There isn’t anything wrong with having certain goals, expectations from oneself and working towards it, but when things escalate in a way that it takes a complete toss on your mental health? Then that is when the problem starts!
According to the World Health Organization, a number of young people are having a tough time and suffering with mental health issues like severe anxiety, depression, often dismissed as the product of the “overly-sensitive, over-indulged, over-entitled generation” by some sections of the society. But on the contrary there is increasing evidence that the psychologically ill-health of young beings may root from the high expectations that people hold for themselves and the harsh repercussions that they indulge themselves with! Sounds familiar?
Paul Hewitt and his particular psychologist Gorden Flett, in more than 20 years of their research have championed the idea that Perfectionism comes in different flavours ~ each associated with different kinds of problems in terms of severity, but no form of perfectionism is said to be completely problem – free! Perfectionism correlates with depression, eating disorders, anxiety and other mental health problems.
Signs of a Perfectionist!
- You’re an All or Nothing person
If you’re someone who believes that the only “acceptable” or the only “successful” point is when you come first in everything, then that is where the issue is. Maybe coming second is not in your dictionary at all!
- Feedbacks make you defensive
It’s absolutely okay to feel a little bad when someone is unkind to us but not knowing the difference between a harsh comment or one that is intended to help us become better, is a trait that Perfectionists find it really hard to distinguish between!
- Highly critical of others around you
You tend to believe that in order to remain at the top, you have to tear down each and everyone around you, to make yourself feel satisfied or elevated. This may cause you to act highly unprofessional and you may end up losing close friends.
- You’re filled with guilt
If you strongly believe that you have to come first in each and every task, then even a small mistake would feel like a huge failure in your life, and with constant mistakes, you might end up feeling extremely guilty for always letting others and yourself down, time and again.. there would be no scope of improvement but only a cycle of unrealistic expectations and a heart full of guilt.
- You tend to crave approval
Receiving feedback for your betterment is one thing, but constantly trying to receive approval and validation from others, with every passing second can actually be detrimental
- High tendency of procrastinating
If you’re constantly wanting to be the best, you are constantly burdening yourself and expecting very highly of yourself, which would then put in the cycle of overthinking, leading to procrastination!
Ways to overcome Perfectionism
- Try to become more aware of your tendencies
The first step to actually overcoming anything, is becoming aware of your tendencies and acknowledging the same.
- Normalise making mistakes
It is important to make a conscious effort to recognise the good traits you carry and also know that it is okay to make a mistake once every while! Try giving yourself a space to make mistakes time and again and learning from them instead of using it against your own benefit.
- Try setting more realistic goals
A perfectionist tends to set unreal goals because of the high expectations they set for themselves. Instead of setting long and intense goals, start small! One of the best ways to work on “perfectionism tendency” is to set goals that are more realistic, achievable and smart! This will make you feel more confident with every goal achieved and feel less stressed than before!
- Focus on purpose more than perfection
It is important for you to understand why you do a particular task. Why do you go play badminton? Because it’s a great way to channelize your emotions and it makes you feel energized! It doesn’t mean that you have to be perfect at it. So try setting meaning and giving that more importance than trying to be perfect at it.
- Try reducing/cutting out the negative influences
It is also necessary to monitor your social media consumption or watching television that might reinforce “perfectionism” instead of helping you get rid of it!
- Try Therapy
With everything being said, it is important that if you feel that it is difficult trying to work on it yourself, give yourself a chance to try out therapy! Therapy can help you understand the deeper reasons behind feeling the need to be perfect and provide you with tools to help you get to a better place mentally and emotionally.
Knowing the issue is half the problem said! If you’re aware of your behavior and how it affects you mentally and emotionally, then that’s where the main job has already been done, the rest is just consistency, time and patience to get better at it. ✨