There is, of course, nothing wrong in wanting to do things well, in setting goals and striving for high standards or even excellence. But the absolutist demands of perfectionism can often be quite counter-productive.
In its adaptive, unhealthy form, perfectionism tends to involve inflexible black-or-white thinking – also know as all-or-nothing thinking. It supports a belief that the only acceptable outcome is one that is completely flawless. Anything less would simply be a failure. This principle results in perfectionists first setting excessively high standards for achievement, and then giving highly critical evaluations of their own performance or the performance of others.
One of the factors that make perfectionism quite so toxic is that, even though its practitioners strongly desire success, their real focus ends up being on the avoidance of failure, and therefore a really negative one. They spend a lot of time fretting about what should have been done. They also never allow themselves to savor and enjoy their own success. Even when they have done a really great job, they will usually feel dissatisfied with the outcome.
Perfectionism can create real problems in relationships. Those people dealing with a perfectionist are likely to feel that any esteem for them is too conditional on performance. They can often feel more of a means-to-an-end than a real person in their own right. The unrealistic expectations of a person caught in the grip of perfectionism can cause them to come across as being a control freak, while they themselves feel repeatedly let down by, and disappointed in, others.
As perfectionism drives people to attempt to achieve an unattainable ideal, it is in itself a flawed strategy – and indeed a recipe for unhappiness. It is hardly surprising that perfectionism is frequently accompanied by depression and even by eating disorders. Paradoxically, you can have far more success when you give up trying to be perfect. Doing so should also make life much easier for you and those around you and a lot more enjoyable.
The combination of coaching and hypnotherapy can be a highly effective one in creating real change in your life. Should you perhaps feel you could do with some help in setting realistic goals and challenges or would like my support in overcoming a particular block you may be experiencing, it might be an idea to make an appointment to see. As always, I shall only charge should you go on to actually work with me in the future.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
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HENDON - LONDON - NW4 - TEL: 020 7112 8272
Many people think of perfectionism as striving to be your best, but it is not about self-improvement; it's about earning approval and acceptance.