Do you find that you are impatient with yourself or other people? Or do you rarely feel a sense of accomplishment? Do you often get irritable or angry? All these things can be signs of being a perfectionist.
Are you a perfectionist?
“So what?” I hear you ask - what's the problem with being a perfectionist? Shouldn't we all strive to be the best we can be at any point?
Of course, we should strive and we should push ourselves to do well and have as good an outcome as possible for the situation we are in. None of these things is perfectionism though. Perfectionism is about not achieving something until it is perfect, it's about setting standards for oneself and others so high that they become a burden and not a motivator. It's also about not knowing when things are good enough.
Why is being a perfectionist a problem?
Perfectionism, when used all the time can lead to many different health issues such as stress. If you are constantly striving for perfection then this will cause a lot of internal stress, long working hours and lots of inner debate. It can also mean that you are not so good at social interaction as you may need to be the perfect friend or colleague and you expect those you interact with to be perfect too.
It can also lead to a loss of self-esteem. What happens when someone points out that you have done something wrong, therefore, you are not good enough and have not achieved perfection? All these things can have a strong impact on both your physical and mental health.
What can you do to change it?
1. Take baby steps
Look at your life, whether that is at work or at home, and decide what you might let go of. Is there something you could get someone else to do and - regardless of the outcome - feel good that you didn't have to do it yourself? This could be anything from picking up the shopping to handing on a project.
2. Give yourself some slack
Start to notice when you are being overly self-critical. Look around and see that the reason you are being so critical is because of the standards you have set yourself - not what other people expect. Try to celebrate when things don't go perfectly, as it is an opportunity to learn.
3. Find places to gain self-worth
Listen out for compliments. You will be receiving them already but you may not hear them as your inner critic (who will always be reminding you that it “really wasn't good enough”) will be drowning them out.
Go back and review what has happened over the last year and celebrate the events that in your eyes weren't perfect but you got praise and recognition for.
A life coach can help you reset your expectations and gain a sense of clarity. Contact a coach today to find out more about how they can support you.