While perfectionism may seem like a good personality trait to possess, it does more harm than good.
Harms of perfectionism
A perfectionist may avoid mistakes to such an extent that they doen’t try anything new just to escape their imagined humiliation. A perfectionist thus has a high chance of becoming a procrastinator.
You can see the type of prison that perfectionists live in. Every time a perfectionist does something less than perfect, their confidence level drops.
The only way they find to maintain their confidence is by not attempting stuff. Also, perfectionists may do the same task again and again or take a long time to complete tasks that would normally take less time just because they want to reach their expected level of perfection.
Someone who thinks that they should never make mistakes, always look their best, always get the highest marks in tests or always be the first suffer tremendous ego damage if they fail to do these things is a perfectionist.
|Trying to be perfect can result in a lot frustration and stress.|
What causes perfectionism?
For example, a person who lacks social skills may try to reach perfection in their job. This way they are able to justify to themselves and to others (in their own mind) why they have no social life- because they’re perfect at what they do and that takes up all of their time.
Had they not been perfect in their job then they would have to admit the fact that they lack social skills and that could have possibly hurt their ego. So, in this case, perfectionism was used as an ego defense mechanism.
Perfectionism can also develop as a result of failure. It is often related to early childhood experiences. When a child fails to do something perfectly and is criticized for it and made to feel unworthy, it may develop a need to do things perfectly in order to win the approval of those around it.
When, as an adult, the same fails to do things perfectly, it reminds them of their old ‘unworthiness’ and they feels bad as a result.
Just like a perfectionist, a person who strives for excellence sets high goals for himself but unlike a perfectionist, they don’t feel bad if they come short again and again. This is because the person who strives for excellence and not perfection knows that mistakes are an inevitable part of human nature.
They know that it’s absolutely okay to make mistakes and that perfection can never be reached in anything- there’s always room for improvement.
Instead of focusing on perfection, they focus on excellence and continually raise the standard of what excellence means to them. Overcoming perfectionism is just a matter of getting rid of the false belief that ‘human beings should never make mistakes’.
Hanan Parvez (M.B.A., M.A. Psychology) has written 300+ articles at www.psychmechanics.com, a blog with over 3 million views and 100k monthly visitors. His work has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Reader’s Digest, and Entrepreneur.