Is it wrong to strive for perfection? There’s nothing wrong with trying to do everything right and to the best of your ability. However, perfectionism is something else entirely. A perfectionist does not forgive mistakes – they don’t forgive themselves, and they also look upon the mistakes of others with a critical eye. Who is a perfectionist? Where does perfectionism come from? Read on!
WHO IS A PERFECTIONIST?
A perfectionist is someone who expects nothing but the best. They set unreasonably high standards for themselves and others, and they are never satisfied with anything less than perfection. Perfectionists are often very successful in their field because they constantly strive to improve and achieve their goals.
However, perfectionism can also be a serious source of stress and anxiety. Perfectionists can never relax because they constantly criticize their successes and look for ways to improve. This can lead to burnout because they never learn to enjoy their achievements.
There’s always something that can be tweaked and done better, which can lead not only to immense stress and tension but also to constant project delays. Perfectionists may have difficulty meeting deadlines, which can have a very negative impact on their professional performance and be a source of many serious problems and conflicts at work.
A perfectionist is someone who does not forgive mistakes. Neither to themselves nor to others. They are really very critical and can find even the smallest mistakes and omissions, which in their eyes turn into a huge problem.
A perfectionist always wants the best, feels the urge to be perfect. They do not consider other people, their free time or feelings. They do not care about themselves either – they often work too hard, become increasingly tired, stressed, and experience great tension, which can cause them many problems – both in the physical and mental health spheres, as well as in the social sphere. Living and working with a perfectionist in both personal and professional life is extremely demanding.
WHERE DOES PERFECTIONISM COME FROM?
Perfectionism is not something that a person is born with. Demanding and critical parents play a big role in its development. It is very important for a child to always strive to do everything right, be devoted to tasks, and try to do them as well as possible.
Children are expected to perform all specific tasks – at school and at home – not just “well”, but completely perfectly. Parents place great emphasis on this and criticize the child, cancelling all their work if there is a mistake. A child brought up this way quickly learns that they are not allowed to make mistakes.
They also learn that parental love is conditional – if they don’t make mistakes, they are loved, but if they do, they are heavily criticized and punished. This creates perfectionism. This approach can also lead to many other, often very serious problems for the child – especially when they suffer from a lack of love, attention, and feeling of safety, while working under strong pressure and constant stress.
Perfectionism is also something that can develop later in life. You may get the impression that current culture supports perfectionism, especially in professional life. Employees often work under enormous pressure, constantly having to complete tasks in a short amount of time. Making a mistake at work is often seen as unacceptable.
HOW TO LIVE WITH A PERFECTIONIST?
Anyone who has ever tried to live with a perfectionist knows that it can be a real challenge. Perfectionists are often demanding and expect others to meet their high standards. This can be difficult to manage, especially if you are not a perfectionist yourself. One of the best ways to deal with a perfectionist is to try to understand their point of view.
Perfectionists often have a deep fear of failure and believe that if they can perfect everything, they will never have to face their fears. Unfortunately, this is not always possible and can lead to many worries and stress. If you learn to empathize with your perfectionist friend or family member, you can more easily deal with their demands.
However, that doesn’t mean you should accept everything that the perfectionist comes up with. Understanding is different from conforming. If you start trying to meet perfectionist standards, you’ll both get stuck in a vicious cycle and neither of you will ever truly be happy.
HOW TO LIVE WITH YOUR OWN PERFECTIONISM?
The problems caused by perfectionism aren’t limited to just people who live with a perfectionist and deal with it on a daily basis. Even the perfectionist themselves can face internal conflicts daily, recalling old, long-forgotten mistakes.
Do you know this feeling? You can’t forgive yourself or others for mistakes, you’re overly critical, constantly stressed, and convinced that something could have been done much better? You surely know how exhausting that is. However, mere knowledge isn’t enough.
It’s very important to learn to rest and relax, and contrary to popular belief, it’s not easy or natural. If you’re struggling with your perfectionism, seek help. Just admitting that you have a problem means a lot. Psychotherapy can be very helpful for you.
During psychotherapy, you’ll have the opportunity to get to the root of your own problem, understand where perfectionism comes from and how it affects you. You’ll also be able to start working on changing your thinking and behavior patterns. Psychotherapy will provide you with a safe space where you’ll learn to forgive, love, and understand – not just others, but yourself as well.