Skip to main content

Overcoming Your Obsession With Perfectionism

Mich is a Civil Engineering graduate with years of experience as a Writer. She talks about a lot of stuff. Maybe you can find what you need.

Let’s play a game.

Put one finger down if you have a parent who demanded only a 100 on your exams when you were little.

Put one finger down if you either give everything you've got to a task or you do nothing at all. There’s no in-between.

Put one finger down if you can’t officially start a project unless everything is in place before you commit to it, no excuses.

Put one finger down if you prefer to do things alone because you don’t know if your group mates can reach your self-imposed standards.

Put one finger down if you constantly spot mistakes, even if others don’t see any.

No more fingers left?

Congratulations! You are a perfectionist, and it’s probably ruining your mental health.

It might also be the reason why you’re always tired and experiencing burnout frequently. Being a perfectionist might have helped you get to where you are right now, but at what cost?

What Is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism, in psychology, is a multidimensional personality trait that is driven by internal pressures to strive for flawlessness accompanied by excessively high standards and critical self-evaluation.

Studies have also connected perfectionism to mental health problems such as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder), anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

A lot of people, including me, would always excuse that being a perfectionist was a good thing. We figured it was the mindset that we need to achieve our set goals.

It took me years to realize that though it did help me strive to become better, it was also the reason why I became anxious to do more since I held myself to unrealistic expectations. Then there goes the voice that brought up insecurities. Followed by procrastination as the mind says “nothing is good enough,” and I would no longer yield the same results.

I could go far and say that perfectionism, did me more harm than good. Allow me to share a few tips on how to overcome your obsession with perfectionism and unlock the potential it’s been hiding in you all along.

Be Self-Aware

To fix the problem, you need to acknowledge that there was a problem first.

Acknowledge that you are a perfectionist. Acknowledge its negative impact on both your mental and emotional health. Acknowledge that it could have affected your relationship with other people and that you might have disregarded everything else considering you have a one-track mind while you were in the zone.

Set aside your pride and look deeper into yourself. This could not only help you with the problem, but it could also guide you to know yourself more.

Check Your Ego

You’re setting impossible expectations for yourself due to your fear of failure. Since perfectionism is tied to your self-esteem, it is hard for you to accept any lapses since you believe that you had already prepared for everything, therefore it should be perfect.

A perfectionist not getting the result that they want could either blame themselves or, worse, blame others. Always keep in mind that even if you already are an expert in your craft, you’re still not above everybody else. There is still a lot you don’t know about and even a lot more to learn.

Learn to Love Imperfections

Slow down and take a deep breath. Yes, having a plan is great. Setting a goal is better. But there are many ways something could go either right or wrong. You need to accept that despite already having an outline of possible outcomes, there are outside factors that you weren’t aware of that could change the course of your timeline. And it is not your fault.

Use these experiences to learn more. Look at mistakes as an additional stepping stone for you to achieve your end game.

Be Kind to Yourself

Allowing yourself to be sad is also a healthy coping mechanism. But, don’t let yourself dabble in the dark too much. Kindness could go a long way, and it’s alright to accept that you are human, therefore, you are allowed to make some mistakes. What’s important is to not repeat the same mistake twice.

Being able to acknowledge your weaknesses is also a sign of strength.

After that, point out all the good things about yourself. One failure does not equal your worth, it is how you deal with it. Find ways to bring back joy into your days and nurture yourself. If you could show compassion towards others, make sure to show compassion to yourself too.

It's Alright to Ask for Help

If you feel like you can not handle the problem on your own anymore, or it’s becoming too much, do not be afraid to ask for help. Just like what I mentioned before, perfectionism was tied to various mental health problems that could lead to more serious matters.

Nowadays, it is easier to reach out to a psychologist and/or a therapist. And if you’re a student, your school’s guidance counselor could also offer the help that you need. These people are there to help you get through your worries, just always remember that you are never alone. There’s always going to be someone in your life that is more than willing to lend their assistance, all you have to do is ask.

Conclusion

You could still insist that perfectionism is a good thing. But in order for you to weaponize a wild card, you have to be wise about it. Take the good things out of it and counter the bad ones that could hurt you.

It’s not easy to kill old habits. But letting go of these habits could give you peace and a healthier mental state. I learned that success wouldn’t be fruitful if you allowed yourself to deteriorate in the name of it.

Always remember that absolute perfection does not exist. Imperfection is what makes us who we are. It’s what makes us alive. It’s what makes us human.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Mich Camcam