Signs You May Be A Perfectionist — Hello, my name is Amanda, and I’m a bit of a perfectionist.
Perfectionism is one of those confusing terms. Many people view it as a positive trait. It’s good to be an over-achiever, right? Yes, to some extent. But, perfectionism is more than that.
It can be difficult to distinguish between simply striving to push yourself and to do your best versus setting completely unrealistic expectations for yourself.
A perfectionist will never feel good enough, no matter how much they try. They base their self-worth on external factors, such as what they can achieve or what they can do for others. And this constant chase of perfection may make them unhappy with themselves and their lives, may negatively affect their relationships, may lead to anxiety, depression, and may have other harmful effects on their overall well-being.
As a perfectionist myself, I’ve come to learn a lot about it. Here are 6 signs that you may be a perfectionist.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this blog is written from personal and lived experience. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional mental health services, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health or mental health, you should always consult with a health-care professional.
6 Signs You May Be a Perfectionist:
# 1 – You find it difficult to get things done because you always feel there’s more you can do to make it perfect
I can take forever to complete a task or project because I never feel it is good enough.
Since a perfectionist is always seeking perfection, it can take a very long time to create something that feels perfect to them. And many times, it is impossible to achieve, leaving them with unfinished tasks or leading them to procrastinate and avoid projects altogether.
# 2 – You have very high standards and set unrealistic, unattainable goals for yourself
A high achiever will set a high, realistic goal for themselves, but a perfectionist will set a goal that is completely out of reach and unreasonable.
My high standards for myself and the unrealistic goals that I set for myself are some of the major factors that contributed to my burnout a few years back. I was always striving to go from A-Z without realizing I had the whole alphabet to work through first! And, of course, each time I failed to achieve my ridiculous goals, I felt worse about myself.
# 3 – You feel good about yourself only after you’ve succeeded at something or have received praise from others
A perfectionist is constantly seeking validation from others about their accomplishments. And your self-esteem is directly linked to your success. You succeed, you feel good about yourself. You don’t succeed (according to your own super high standards), and you feel terrible about yourself.
# 4 – You obsess over mistakes you’ve made and are really hard on yourself about them
During my burnout, my perfectionism was at its worst. I remember not being able to fall asleep some nights because I was fixating on how I messed up on a task at work. And it didn’t even have to be anything significant either. Even just missing a phone call because I happened to be away from my desk for a minute would make me feel terrible about myself.
Perfectionists are super self-critical. And even if they’ve done a fantastic job at something, they’ll still find the tiniest thing they’ve messed up on to feel disappointed about.
# 5 – You believe that if something’s not perfect, it’s a failure
Perfectionists are all-or-nothing thinkers. Things are either one way or the other with no in-between. So, it’s difficult for them to give themselves any credit for the tasks they’ve completed if they haven’t completed their ultimate goal. In their eyes, it’s just not good enough and, therefore, a failure.
# 6 – You use the word “should” too much
The word “should” relates to that all-or-nothing thinking I referred to in the point above. When something should be a certain way, it implies that any other way is incorrect.
Perfectionists may often use the word should with regard to themselves or others. If things are not done to their standards, as they should be, they are incorrect, or a failure.
Some ways to overcome perfectionism
- If perfectionism is getting in the way of you living a happy, healthy life, reach out to a mental health professional for support.
- Try to set more realistic goals and expectations for yourself.
- Break larger tasks into smaller ones.
- Work on embracing mistakes as opportunities for growth.
- Work on loving all of you – flaws and all!
- Build your self-esteem with some positive affirmations.