Do you ever feel underaccomplished? Do you hold yourself and others to unrealistically high standards? Then you might be a perfectionist. What is perfectionism? It's defined as "an irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others." Perfectionism is unhealthy and can cause mental anguish. Want to learn more? Here are three dangers of being a perfectionist:
1. Feeling depressed and anxious
When you're a perfectionist, failing isn't in your vocabulary. Because perfectionists have unrealistic expectations of themselves that are impossible to live up to, most end up feeling depressed and anxious. While perfectionism alone doesn't cause depression, it's a contributing factor.
2. Poor relationships
If you continuously hold yourself and others to unrealistically high expectations, chances are your relationships are going to suffer as a result. This is especially true if you always feel as though others are letting you down.
3. Feeling disappointed
Since no one can live up to perfection, including yourself, perfectionism will leave you feeling disappointed a lot. Constantly feeling anxious and depressed as a result of being a perfectionist also contribute to feeling disappointed.
What can you do to combat perfectionism?
To help combat perfectionism and ground yourself better, remind yourself of the following:
- Being perfect isn't the key to social acceptance. More specifically, Being perfect doesn't make someone more lovable or worthy. Perfectionism stands in the way of authentic connections.
- There are lessons to be found when things go wrong. Remember that things don't always go as planned. But this allows people to learn and grow. If you're always focused on being perfect, you'll miss important life lessons.
- Perfection doesn't exist. Life isn't perfect for anyone, even if it seems like it is.
- Being a perfectionist isn't sustainable. Obsession with perfectionism only leads to burnout and exhaustion.
- Perfectionism causes us to engage in mindless behavior -- it forces us to set unachievable goals, and then ruminate on mistakes. Instead, it's important to practice mindfulness, such as expressing gratitude.
- Perfectionism consumes us -- being a perfectionist means that you're tied up in status symptoms, money, and power. But all these things don't matter that much in life. What matters is the people in our lives.
Remember that giving up on being a perfectionist doesn't mean you've given up on life. See how you can rethink perfectionism and thrive for the "good life" -- one filled with connection, being fully present, and having alignment with your values.