Delving Deeper into ‘Perfectionism’



Do you regard yourself to be a perfectionist? Or have you been given the name of a perfectionist ever? No doubt that every task you carry out should be of high quality yet too much perfectionism can be harmful at many times. It can not only damage your sense of worth, but also affect your personal and professional relationships. In some instances, the result is even more critical as this small word has been observed to cause health related problems. Before you lose everything, find ways to put an end to it.

Perfectionism – The Concept

Every time the word “perfectionist” is heard about. In fact, there are people in this world today who are considered perfectionists. But what do you mean by perfectionism? In simple terms, perfectionism can be defined as a series of “self-defeating thinking patterns” which perk you up to attain some unrealistic goals. Perfectionists are of the view that perfection can be acquired in everything and should be. They can be classified under two heads stated below:

Adaptive Perfectionists – The standard for perfectionists continues to rise and they see their work with contentment, hopefulness and the urge for improvement. As an adaptive perfectionist, you will always try to develop your skills. Adaptive perfectionism is considered to be healthy as it will give you scope for improvement in life and proceed further towards developing a successful career.

Maladaptive Perfectionists – Talking about maladaptive perfectionists, they are not at all happy irrespective of what they acquire. If they feel something will not work, they immediately give up the idea and try out some other thing instead. They always experience fear in mind. Be it doubt, failure, painful emotions, unhappiness etc. So, it is clearly understood that these can affect your health considerably.

The biggest difference between adaptive perfectionists and maladaptive perfectionists is the former see their mistakes a prospect to flourish. Contrarily maladaptive perfectionists cannot accept their mistakes and think others consider them hopeless. From the discussion, it is clear that maladaptive perfectionism can ruin your life. Hence, you should understand the difference between the two and avoid yourself from turning into a maladaptive perfectionist.

Perfectionism as a Negative Attitude

Perfectionism can have negative impact on your life when you have set a high standard for yourself but failed to attain it. This mindset will prevent you from taking unnecessary risks, challenge yourself or move up to the ladder of success. Here is how:

Stress And Anxiety – Stress is a hot topic presently. Every person is said to suffer from stress, which turns to anxiety, and then to depression further. A great factor resulting in stress is perfectionism. It saddens you when there is no need actually. You might feel stressed out when have completed a task less than acceptable standard. Not only is this but also it can beat yourself against minor hindrances.

General health Disorders – As per an analysis made, perfectionism can also affect general health disorders. These can include:

  1. Eating Disorders
  2. Personality Disorders
  3. Migraines etc

This quest for your perfection will further lead to decreased productivity and troubled relationships as well.

Not Open To New Experiences – When you are not ready for newer experiences, you can miss out wide range of opportunities like discovering new interests, passions and people. Nosooner you close off; such limits can make you feel stressed out. These further make you neglect good things that life offer.

Hampers Your Creativity – For sure, you won’t want this to happen to you, right? Yes, trying to be a perfectionist can hamper your creativity as well. Creativity should be valued the most. However, without any experimentation, no creativity exists in today’s fast-paced life. It prevents you to take risks, restrains your playfulness and the urge to live upto a new dream.

Self-Esteem – Perfectionism can have a negative influence on your self-esteem. Whatever perfectionists achieve; they see their sense of worth in it. They cannot accept the fact that their team members have equally put up efforts to complete a task. They never feel satisfied at their accomplishments and so cannot meet up the standards being set.

Procrastination – It is well known that procrastination is an enemy and makes you fall behind often. For example, you feel anxious about unable to meet the anticipated standards rather than taking your first step towards initiating a project. You fear to start afresh to avoid the mistakes in the long run. Paying attention to every detail can leave a project unfinished, which further affects your reputation and work relationships.

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How to Turn Negative Attributes of Perfectionism into Positive Ones

Identify Your Strengths – Identifying and focusing on your strengths is the very first step towards turning your negative attribute of perfectionism into positive ones. Rather than thinking about your weaknesses and failures, make yourself believe on what you can attain. Your strengths will let you go far and allow learning as well as building up your skills further.

Stumble upon New Opportunities – Expose yourself to stumble upon new opportunities that will pave up the path for new learning. Try to explore new interesting projects even if you have experienced failure in the past. Make yourself understand you can improve and grow your skills.

Be Flexible in Your Thoughts – You have to be flexible in your thoughts. Accept the fact that perfection is not identical to excellence. If you consider excellence personally then it is to strive out the personal best from within whereas perfection is just to meet an unrealistic goal.

Indulge Yourself into the Activities – Try to live in your present paying attention to details that you indulge into. Enjoy yourself and think about the happiness it brings to you. At workplace, enjoy the procedure to reach your goals rather than just the final outcome. Everyone can make mistakes and even you. So, forget such things and proceed to learn and develop.


Working as a perfectionist in every job you do is not at all a bad thing. However, when it turns out to be affecting your relationships at home and office then it is better to put a check on it. Learn on how you can get rid of the problem and be happy in what you achieve.

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