Is Perfectionism Good or Bad?


Post #80 The Origin of your Perfectionism

Is it such a bad idea to strive for perfect outcomes, perfect friends or perfect careers? In theory, life would be great if all were perfect. But, along with perfectionism comes boredom, complacency and lack of personal expansion. This article discusses origins of perfectionism and what it means for you.

nobody is perfect

Perfectionism Defined

Let’s start by assessing the different ways perfectionism can show up in your life. I am speaking here about daily, continuous desires for perfectionism. It is an urge to be mistake-free. It is a belief that anything short of perfect is unacceptable. Perfectionism is an anxious concern you may have about others’ opinions of you. It is like a mask that protects you from your fears. It is a tradeoff because you’d rather experience perfectionism than take a risk. Perfectionism seeks validation from others to confirm your insecurities. Most importantly, perfectionism is the symptom of a greater issue: lack of self-confidence.

Why Do We Do It?

Insecurity is simply self-doubt. We all experience doubt in ourselves and in our abilities, that’s part of being human. The questions become, how do you want to deal with your self-doubts and to what degree do you have them? Perfectionism starts because you are afraid. You are afraid to take that chance and defend yourself should you make a mistake. Fear stems from insecurity. If you are insecure in who you are, you don’t understand how to have your own back. And when you are insecure, it leads to self-doubt. We pursue perfectionism in the name of avoiding an uncomfortable situation. Our human purpose, my friends, is to evolve by trying and failing and trying again – and it’s uncomfortable! Perfectionism prohibits evolvement since it is our way of trying to remain comfortable.

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Getting Over Perfectionism

Of course, we may want to do some things in our lives perfectly, such as bathing the dog or trying a new recipe. But if you have a chronic urge to want most things to be perfect, you could be limiting yourself. If perfectionism is an ongoing goal, not just a one-off here and there, I recommend strengthening your self-confidence (see Post #61). When people are very self-confident and carry much respect for themselves, they know how to embrace negative emotions. They understand when good is good enough; perfectionism doesn’t dwell in their brains. Building your self-worth is a skill that anyone can learn with some practice. I’d like you to remember that the more secure you feel in who you are, the less perfect you need to be.

For additional tools and brain exercises to help you manage your COVID-19 circumstances, visit my YouTube video:  Managing Student Life During COVID-19

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