Do you refuse to stand for anything that is short of perfection? If so, you might be a perfectionist. While there is nothing wrong with seeking perfection, spending too much time perfecting every aspect of your life can have a negative impact. Fortunately, the 10-point quiz below will help you determine if perfectionism is a problem for you.
- When planning a family vacation, do you have to plan months in advance?
- If you have a gathering at your house, do you feel the need to clean as soon as everyone leaves until your house is spotless once again?
- Does anyone ever tell you that you have unrealistic expectations for yourself and others?
- Do you feel angry, overwhelmed, or stressed when you make a mistake?
- Do you find that spend longer on certain tasks than your coworkers because you feel the need to get it right the first time?
- Are you the type of person to focus on a mistake you made trying to determine exactly where you went wrong?
- Do you find that it is difficult to complete tasks or projects because you find that there is always something you can do to perfect it?
- If you were to think about it honestly, are you too tough on yourself?
- Do you find yourself redoing chores or tasks that you asked someone else to do because you feel it wasn’t done well enough?
- Are you the type that must get things done right now, the right way, rather than waiting until later?
Each yes you provided is worth one point.
10 points – You are a perfectionist through and through.
7-9 points – You have perfectionism tendencies that are creating issues for your day-to-day life.
4-6 points – You have some of the earmarks of perfectionism, but you do not let it rule you.
1-3 points – You can safely say that perfectionism is not a problem for you.
What’s So Bad About Being a Perfectionist?
For starters, you might not even realize that you are a perfectionist, which means you likely do not realize the impact it is having on your life. Perfectionism can have the following negative consequences:
- Steals your ability to feel joy
- Diminishes your self-confidence
- Robs you of your ability to complete tasks and goals
- Limits your ability to embrace self-acceptance
- Prevents you from experiencing self-growth
If you are constantly focusing on perfecting every aspect of your life, it makes it impossible for you to get anything done. You constantly feel that there is something you can do to make the task better. Even then, you might do something that you feel was not good enough, thus forcing you to give up on the task.
As a perfectionist, you are never able to feel joy in any of your accomplishments because you always feel as though what you do is not good enough. You lack the ability to feel confident in the things you do. For these reasons, perfectionism has severely negative consequences on a person’s life. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome perfectionism.
Beating Back Perfectionism
Overcoming perfectionism is possible if you adhere to the following tips and advice:
- Recognize that you suffer from perfectionism: By now, you already know based on the quiz above if you are a perfectionist, or suffer from the tendencies of perfectionism. If you do, be honest with yourself. Accepting what it is that is causing distress in your life allows you to face the problem head on.
- Accept constructive criticism: Someone who suffers from any form of perfectionism finds it impossible to accept criticism. You must do your best to accept constructive criticism and ask yourself who it is that is delivering the criticism and why. Learning to accept criticism helps you grow as a person.
- Know the difference between self-improvement and perfectionism: There is a significant difference between self-improvement and perfectionism, and understanding the difference between the two can help you. If you are wanting to improve yourself by losing weight, studying for a test, or changing your appearance with a haircut and color, there is nothing wrong with that, but if you are striving for perfection, you need to pull back and be realistic with yourself.
- Set Realistic Standards and Goals: Stop thinking that absolutely every aspect of your life must be perfect. Instead, set goals and standards that are realistic. For instance, if you put your all into a report for work and your boss wants you to correct a few mistakes, don’t panic. You must stop and realize that is a realistic expectation. The sky did not come crashing down on top of you, and the world has not stopped spinning.
By following the tips above, you can find ways to stop perfectionism from ruining your life. As a human being, you will always desire perfection. However, you must make yourself realize that perfection is not always attainable and that is okay!
If you find that you are still struggling from the negatives of being a perfectionist despite applying the tips and advice given above, you might want to think about speaking with a therapist. A therapist can help you get on track to a healthier, happier you. With the help of therapy, you can learn to set more realistic expectations for yourself and others.
Monica Ramunda is a solution-focused therapist with an office located in Louisville, Colorado for in-office visits. With a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and more than 16 years experience in therapy and counseling, Monica works as both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Registered Play Therapist (RPT) with adults and children respectively. Much of Monica’s success is based on her eclectic orientation and drawing on a wide range of different approaches and techniques all while remaining strongly grounded in the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Techniques (CBT).