7 Signs You're a Perfectionist and That You Need to Stop
Updated: Jun 12, 2018
Perfectionism. The word itself doesn’t sound bad- in fact, it sounds downright wonderful. Who wouldn’t want to achieve perfection, right?
We’re humans, after all, and it’s perfectly human to want to win. That sense of achievement we get once we attain a goal is pretty darned hard to replace.
But here’s the thing with perfectionism. While it can be healthy (we call this “adaptive” perfectionism), there is a darker side to the picture. Maladaptive perfectionists want and cannot accept anything but perfection. Failure to do so results in a spiral into depression.
Below, I'm going to highlight the key signs of perfectionism, and how they can be affecting you and your quality of life negatively.
1. You procrastinate. A lot. Normal people would procrastinate by watching an episode of Friends or Game of Thrones before starting on their assignment. You, on the other hand, spend hours, days, even weeks on an assignment, obsessing over every detail you’ve made to the point that you miss your deadline. Nothing you create ever meets the insane standards you’ve set for yourself, and in the end, you never move forward.
2. You have an all-or-nothing mindset. If you’re not good at something, why bother doing it at all? Rather than making a fool of yourself, you’d rather miss out on a class. Instead of going for football practice, you’d rather stay at home, but you’re perfectly fine with going to baseball practice. Because guess what, you’re better at baseball than football. This kind of mindset can prevent growth in those less than perfect areas despite knowing there is a learning curve.
3. You avoid trying new things. That cool new sport everyone’s raving about and you’d love to try? Or that new dance school that just opened up and you’d love to sign up for? No and no, on both counts. Out of fear that you’ll make a fool of yourself, you bar yourself from trying new things. Which, trust us, you will regret in the long run. What’s life without a bit more colour in it?
4. You obsess over previous mistakes. While everyone else can move on, you can’t. You stay fixated on the mistake you made, and you build it up in your head, until you finally, finally cripple from the stress of it all. No matter how small the mistake, it doesn’t really make a difference to you. Everything is either perfect or not. Anything less than the former is unacceptable.
5. High, unrealistic goals. It is one thing to set your goals high, it is another matter entirely when you set them out of reach. Because you define yourself by your accomplishments, you have an innate need to be the very best. Which is a good thing in healthy doses, but bear in mind that you are human too. Remember Icarus, the man who flew too close to the sun? Don’t be him.
6. Difficulty in sharing your thoughts and feelings. Why? Because by admitting anything of the like is equivalent to revealing that you are a flawed human being. In your mind, it is a sign of weakness, and it is precisely this mentality that can hinder you from forming warm, genuine relationships.
7. The thought of socialising leaves you anxious. Rather than experiencing butterflies before meeting new people, you get the uglier side of the coin: anxiety. There is a constant worry that people will be watching and judging your every move. What if you make a mistake and embarrass yourself in front of them? The thought is too terrifying to even consider.
Having some of these traits doesn’t mean you’re a perfectionist, but if you found yourself nodding to more than a few of these, you might be. All is not lost, though! Realisation is the first step to recovery, and the quality of life you’ll enjoy thereafter will be well worth it. So don’t be afraid to take that step; everything in life is a journey.
Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini