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  • Writer's pictureJessica Trainor

The Reality of Living with Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a trait that is commonly praised in our society today. The pursuit of excellence and striving for perfection can lead to success and achievement, but when taken to the extreme, perfectionism can have negative effects on mental health, well-being, relationships with others and just life in general.

Perfectionism looks like setting unrealistic expectations and standards for oneself and others, feeling a constant need for control, and experiencing intense anxiety and self-criticism when things don't go as planned. Perfectionism can manifest in various aspects of life, including work, relationships, personal goals, food/weight, and so on.

Ways in which perfectionism could be negatively impacting you;

  1. Increased stress and anxiety: Perfectionists often experience high levels of stress and anxiety due to the pressure they put on themselves to achieve perfection. AND even when perfection is attained, there is no level of satisfaction OR it is very short lived. It often turns into thinking that the initial goal was not set high enough, setting the bar higher for future scenarios and ultimately being left feeling never good enough.

  2. Impaired relationships: Perfectionists may have difficulty in relationships, as they may set high expectations for their partners or friends and become critical when those expectations are not met. OR they are busy spreading themselves thin for everyone around them and therefore have limited energy to provide to those closest to them.

  3. Procrastination: Perfectionists may procrastinate on tasks because they feel overwhelmed by the pressure to do things perfectly.

  4. Negative self-talk: Perfectionists may be highly self-critical, which can lead to feelings of low self-worth and even depression.

  5. Burnout: Perfectionism can lead to burnout, where an individual becomes so overwhelmed, exhausted and defeated by their pursuit of perfection that they are no longer able to function effectively.

Here are some methods to move away from perfectionism:

  1. Practice self-compassion: Learn to be kind and compassionate towards yourself, and acknowledge that it's okay to make mistakes.

  2. Set realistic goals: Set achievable goals that challenge you, but are also realistic and attainable.

  3. Embrace imperfection: Recognize that perfection is not attainable and that mistakes and failures are a natural part of the learning process.

  4. Seek support: Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for support if you are struggling with perfectionism.

  5. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings and help you learn to let go of the need for perfection.

Perfectionism is a common experience, but it's important to recognize when it's causing more harm than good. Practicing self-compassion, setting realistic goals, and seeking support can help people overcome perfectionism and lead happier and more fulfilling lives.



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