Perfectionism can be a good thing. It pushes us to achieve our goals and makes it easier to set high standards for ourselves. But sometimes, we need to realize that perfectionism isn’t always worth it.
In fact, perfectionism can sometimes be downright destructive. It can lead us to set unrealistic goals and then beat ourselves up when we don’t achieve them. It can cause us to worry about the future instead of enjoying today. Perfectionism can make it difficult to accept help from others because we don’t want anyone else messing up our plans.
Here are reasons why perfectionism can be so damaging and why being a little less hard on yourself might help:
12 Reasons not to strive for perfectionism
1. Perfectionism is linked to depression and anxiety
Perfectionism can be a dangerous thing when it begins to affect our mental health. Studies have shown that it is strongly linked to both depression and anxiety, potentially leading to constant worrying and detrimental thoughts about success and failure.
All too often perfectionists rely on their own standards of success and feel as though they are inadequate if they fail to meet them. This can lead to feelings of disappointment in oneself, which then fuels further anxiety and depression – creating a vicious cycle of negative thinking that’s hard to break.
In order for perfectionists to let go of their unrealistic expectations, it’s important for them to recognize their own accomplishments and successes in order to build self-confidence. Additionally, allowing yourself moments of joy in the midst of striving for perfection can be incredibly beneficial in relieving pressure caused by elevated standards while also helping us appreciate life more fully.
2. Perfectionism makes us feel like we are never good enough.
Perfectionism can be a brutal trap to fall into. It creates an impossible goal of being “perfect,” setting us up for failure before we even begin trying. We might feel like any effort is not enough, or that our best will never measure up. This kind of thinking eliminates the possibility of growth and progress – why bother challenging ourselves if we are doomed to fail?
By maintaining a realistic perspective and focusing on taking incremental steps toward improvement, perfectionism can be managed in a way that enables us to recognize our successes while understanding that our mistakes need not define us. Achieving balance is what leads to true success.
3. Perfectionism increases the risk of perfectionistic self-presentation.
Perfectionism can also affect how we present ourselves in social situations.
Perfectionistic self-presentation is when someone strives for perfection in their outward appearance or behavior but often hides their true selves from others. This type of self-presentation can lead to significant distress and unhappiness, as well as potentially damage our relationships with others. While we want to look our best sometimes, striving for constant perfection can be damaging in the long run. It is important that we practice healthy forms of self-love and self-reflection in order to feel content with ourselves – without having to rely on external validation or an impossible ideal.
4. Perfectionists often deny or diminish their accomplishments.
One of the most counterintuitive and damaging ways that perfectionism manifests itself is when we deny our own accomplishments. This can look like minimizing our successes, refusing to take credit for our achievements, or completely ignoring them altogether. It’s not just a problem if we are perfectionists; it can actually be a sign that we are not being as self-compassionate as we could be!
As Perfectionists we often fall into the habit of discounting our accomplishments, convincing ourselves that our work isn’t good enough and no amount of applause can convince us otherwise. This thought process only serves to undermine our self-confidence and stifles motivation, leading many to become discouraged and give up on whatever pursuit they’re engaged in.
5. Perfectionists often give people unrealistic expectations of them
Perfectionists often give people unrealistic expectations of themselves. We do this by either:
- Setting an impossibly high standard for our own performance, which can make us feel like a failure if we don’t meet it. For example: “I should always be able to properly explain my ideas in a way that everyone understands.” Or, “My house should always be clean and tidy.”
- Holding others accountable to the same high standards we hold ourselves to, is frustrating for them because they aren’t necessarily perfectionists themselves. For example: “You need to be more punctual” or “You shouldn’t have said that about me!”
6. Perfectionism can make you afraid of trying new things because you might fail.
When you’re a perfectionist, you may be afraid of trying new things and taking risks for fear that you’ll fail.
Perfectionism can be a terrifying habit because it instills fear in those of us who wish to try new things. When someone is a perfectionist, they often become so critical of the work that they do that any failure – even minor ones – can feel like an insurmountable obstacle. Because of this, trying something new and having the chance of failing that’s associated with it may be too intimidating for even the bravest of perfectionists.
Even though taking risks or trying something challenging can have its own rewards, they are often overshadowed by fear of failure in the minds of perfectionists. It’s important to take risks in life and not let perfectionism get in the way.
7. Perfectionists are less likely to seek help.
The same perfectionist qualities that make you a hard worker can also make it difficult for you to ask for help. If you are a perfectionist, chances are that it’s not easy for you to admit when something is wrong or that there’s something out of your control. It may feel like admitting this means failure and defeat.
Perfectionists often have a hard time asking for help because they think that their needs are unimportant compared with others’ needs, or because they think their problems aren’t as serious as other people’s problems.
Perfectionists may also worry about being seen as weak if they admit needing assistance or support from others.
8. Sometimes our mistakes and failures make us more successful in the long run.
By making mistakes, we can learn what doesn’t work and adjust our approach to find a solution that does. Failure can also be a great motivator to try harder and work towards a goal with greater determination. Additionally, failures and mistakes can give us the opportunity to learn important life lessons and develop important character traits such as resilience, resourcefulness, and perseverance.
This is especially true for creative people. In fact, research shows that perfectionism can block creativity.
9. Perfectionists often have difficulty sharing their work with other people
One of the biggest reasons perfectionists have a hard time sharing their work is that they’re afraid of being judged by others. They think that if someone sees their work and has any sort of negative reaction to it, they will be judged as a person. In reality, most people are more concerned with themselves and don’t even care about what you made or said—especially if they don’t know who you are!
They are also afraid of being rejected or criticized because they believe that everyone else must have better ideas than theirs. And this fear keeps them from being able to ask questions when something doesn’t make sense or asking for help when needed (which can lead to procrastination).
10. Perfectionism can rob us of our creativity.
Perfectionism can also keep us from reaching our full potential because it can rob us of the creativity and spontaneity that makes great work. Perfectionists often have difficulty sharing their work with other people, especially because they’re afraid of what others will think. They tend to put so much pressure on themselves that they may end up never finishing anything—or even worse, they start something and then quit before they even get close to completion.
A perfectionist might be afraid of trying new things because he or she thinks that if he or she tries something new and fails, then his or her entire life will be a failure. But sometimes our mistakes and failures make us more successful in the long run—and sometimes we have to take risks in order for success to happen at all!
11. Perfectionism is hard on your health.
While setting high standards for ourselves can push us to success, constantly striving and obsessing over perfection can lead to damaging effects on both our mental and physical well-being. When this happens, we can feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed with anxiety, resulting in difficulty making decisions and a lack of motivation.
The stress of achieving the illusory perfect outcome can also negatively impact our sleep quality, leading to cognitive impairments that inhibit our decision-making ability even further. Instead of reaching for unrealistic standards, try focusing on your individual successes—striving to achieve personal bests instead of perfect outcomes leads to healthier habits that are more likely to stick in the long term. Over time, perfectionism can take a toll on both physical and mental well-being, and it is important for perfectionists to learn to be more self-compassionate and set realistic and healthy standards for themselves.
12. Perfectionism can be damaging to your relationships.
Perfectionism is a dangerous quality that can have grave consequences in one’s personal relationships. Not only does it create insurmountable pressure for both parties to constantly strive for unattainable standards, but it also causes held grudges and irreparable stress. When perfectionism rears its ugly head, situations can quickly descend into frustration and miscommunication, ultimately diminishing trust and creating a wedge between individuals in the relationship. Perfectionism is one of the most detrimental ingredients of any relationship – it is important to make sure that you keep it under control if you want to maintain healthy bonds with those around you.
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We all want to be good at what we do and make our lives a little easier. But perfectionism can hold us back from achieving our goals because it makes us feel like we’re never doing enough.
If you have perfectionistic tendencies, try focusing on the positive instead of getting stuck on the negative. You can also try accepting yourself for who you are today without feeling bad about not being perfect tomorrow!