Is Perfectionism a Flaw? Part 1

Perfectionism doesn’t seem like it would be such a bad trait, but it is in fact, very stressful- for you and your loved ones! Perfectionistic standards are rigid and unrealistic as well as focused on the final product or outcome. But perfectionism tends to be based on fear.

No one is suggesting that you have low standards though. It is possible to lower perfectionistic standards to high standards. High standards are adaptable, attainable and more process-focused. High standards tend to be motivated by excitement and a desire to learn more.

This is the deal with perfectionism though, it is subjective! We are unlikely to agree on what is ‘perfect’ so it stands to reason that perfectionism is something that is impossible to attain.

Poor self esteem is a common underlying issue for many perfectionists, but most prevalent for people pleasing perfectionists. People pleasing crosses the line from wanting people to like you to thinking you need people to like you in order to have any value as a person. Behaviors that people pleasing perfectionists display is approval seeking; overcompensating; failure to delegate; and checking and reassurance seeking. This is a lose-lose situation that leads to exhaustion and burnout.

I encourage you to try this writing exercise to learn how perfectionism is affecting you. Answer these questions with your first thought. Do not overthink it, there is no wrong answer.

  1. I tell myself I need to be perfect when ___.
  2. I need to be perfect in order for me to ___.
  3. I need others to see me as perfect whenever ___.
  4. I need to be perfect so that other people ___.
  5. When others are not perfect I feel ___.
  6. I need to be perfect so that I ___.
  7. If others see me as being imperfect then ___.
  8. If I am imperfect then ___.
  9. I need people to be perfect so that ___.
  10. If I make a mistake ___.

Perfectionistic beliefs and behaviors tend to limiting and self defeating. Lets work together to change this for you. Contact me now to schedule your appointment- I am now offering both in person and videochat options. And bring these questions with you so we can discuss!

Love yourself, you deserve it!
Tina Gray-Siebers, MS, LPC, CCATP