Woman looking at laptop with head in handsYou’ve probably heard the phrase “I am a perfectionist” before. Whether you were the one that spoke those words or you heard them from a loved one, classmate, or colleague, you’re familiar with the phrase and what it means.

Perfectionism is often seen as a good thing. You’re striving for the best. You have extremely high standards for yourself. 10 out of 10. 100%. A perfect score. No errors or mistakes. No need for improvement.

In reality, perfectionism can actually be an issue because nothing can be truly perfect all the time. Let’s learn more about perfectionism and why it’s actually a problem.

What Is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is the belief that one needs to appear perfect, or that perfect is even something that is attainable. Individuals often have a hard time starting projects unless they know they can make them perfect.

Once actually started on a task, it may take an individual dealing with perfectionism an excessive amount of time compared to someone else. Finishing a project or task is a completely different scenario. A project will never be completely finished unless the individual views it as perfect. Even if the work is done, they will keep trying until they feel that they achieved perfection.

Why Is Perfectionism a Problem?

Although perfectionism is often viewed as something to strive for, it’s actually a huge problem in a lot of ways. Perfectionism is actually striving for something that is unrealistic and unattainable. Let’s visit some of the ways that perfectionism can be a problem.

Low Self-Esteem

High achievers usually have high self-esteem. You would think this would be the case with a perfectionist, but it’s actually not. Perfectionists tend to have extremely low self-esteem because of how critical they are to themselves.

To make matters worse, perfectionists also tend to self-isolate and push others away, even their loved ones. This behavior can lead to lower self-esteem and self-worth, as well as have a negative impact on their self-image and relationships.

All or Nothing Mentality

Woman in bed looking at cell phone at 1:05 amPerfectionists often set high goals for themselves. This can lead to a lot of failure and disappointment. Their all-or-nothing way of thinking means that something is only a success if it’s perfect. If a perfectionist doesn’t meet their goals, they won’t be able to see even small wins they may have achieved as successes.

They will only be able to see the failures. On top of that, they will hyper-focus on any imperfections or mistakes they may have made along the way.

Mental Health

Perfectionism can actually lead to a lot of other mental health disorders, especially if left untreated. Some of the most common physical signs of perfectionism include insomnia, muscle tension, a tight chest, and fatigue. Perfectionists tend to sit in their self-pity if they feel like they failed.

Due to striving for unrealistic and unattainable goals, their high expectations are often left unmet. Anxiety, depression, and eating disorders are extremely common in individuals suffering from perfectionism.

Next Steps

Man sitting on couch looking at woman sitting in chairIt’s time you realize that perfection actually doesn’t exist. This type of mindset change can be hard to make, especially if you’ve been living this way for a certain number of years. The good news is that you don’t have to navigate this all on your own. Therapy is a great treatment option to help you change those negative thought patterns into more positive ones.

If you’ve already recognized some of the traits of perfectionism in yourself, you’re already on your way to implementing a much-needed change in your life. A therapist will work with you to help you work towards a healthier approach to hitting your goals with less stress and a more positive outlook on life. Reach out to me today to set up a consultation.

For more information about my services in Delray Beach, FL and Sandy Springs, GA, click here Anxiety Therapy.