20 Reasons You Might Be a Perfectionist
Perfectionism has been linked to depression and anxiety. While many people think of perfectionism as a good thing it leads to high levels of stress.
How do you know if you are a perfectionist or if you simply have high standards? The following are characteristics of perfectionists.
Even those you aren’t really interested in. You are highly competitive and can’t stand to lose...at anything.
For example, suppose you are a great basketball player but only mediocre at baseball. You refuse to play baseball, even in a casual environment, because you aren’t the best on the team.
If you get to a meeting late, you don’t go in. If you don’t think your report is perfect, you don’t bother handing it in. If you can’t do it perfectly, you don’t bother wasting your time trying.
You might skip eating or sleeping so you can continue to work on a project because it isn’t perfect yet.
You don’t see that there might be several different ways to achieve the same end.
Everything is either perfect or it is a failure. You don’t believe that anything can be “okay.” If you have not achieved perfection, you have failed. There are no grey areas in your life, only black and white.
You might be extremely detail oriented, because not only must the final project be correct but every detail along the way must be perfect as well. You notice any mistake or error, whether you made it or someone else did.
You mull over what you did and did not do correctly. You worry that you did not do enough or did something wrong.
You become defensive if anyone points out any errors or makes any criticisms about your work because it implies that you were not or are not perfect.
You want everyone to think highly of you and be happy with what you have accomplished or done. You become stressed if someone is not pleased with your work.
You want perfection not only in what you do but in everything around you. You quickly criticize any errors made by those around you.
Because you have an intense need to be accepted and a great fear of rejection, you might find it easier to not connect and therefore not risk rejection.
Even so, you can’t seem to stop yourself because the results would be disasterous. You can’t imagine living with yourself if you don’t try to be perfect and you are sure that your world will fall apart if you stop trying.
Because perfection is so important to you, you find it very hard to deal with anything less. When faced with challenges or mistakes you have made, you become dejected.
That’s because no matter how long you work, in your eyes it is never quite done. There is always one more edit, one more change, one more finishing touch. You believe you will stop when it is “perfect.”
Although you know you shouldn’t, seeing someone else make a mistake or fail at a task makes you feel better, at least for a little while. It reinforces that you are “the best.”
You might overreact by crying, yelling, screaming or making excuses for your mistake.
You believe that if you can’t do it all, then you can’t be perfect and that isn’t acceptable.
You don’t enjoy doing pointless hobbies. Instead, everything you do has a purpose in your life.
If working on a group project, you automatically take the lead and decide what tasks everyone else will complete. You take on extra work to make sure it is done right. You believe in “if you want it done right, do it yourself.” You have a difficult time working in a group if you are not in control.
Having some of these traits doesn’t mean you are a perfectionist, however, if you see yourself in several or many of these characteristics you might be a perfectionist. There are ways to overcome perfectionism and start to enjoy your life and the relationships around you. Cognitive behavioral therapists work to help you find ways to change your thinking patterns.