Why perfectionism does not equate to perfection?

 

It is not uncommon for people to market themselves saying I am a perfectionist, hoping the person who hears it takes it as a strength and not weakness. But the sad truth is perfectionists strive for unrealistic goals and achievements and are brutally critical of themselves. This self-critic is within the perfectionist all the time, almost as strong as the cheerleader within them.

Some of the characteristics of perfectionism are:

Lack of satisfaction: Perfectionists are never content with what they have achieved. They pack their day with as much as they possibly can and keep themselves extremely busy. This leads to a lot of frustration and guilt because they may fail to accomplish everything that was planned. Most perfectionists live planning their future and not at the moment and subsequently miss out on beautiful moments in their lives that can be cherished.

Achieve, achieve, and achieve: The quest for achieving still makes them feel like an underachiever as there is constant dissatisfaction when it comes to what they have achieved. This is probably due to the critic in their head constantly criticizing them for everything they do.

Frustration and stress: The constant focus on achieving greater things will result in a lot of stress and frustration as the list of things to be done is long and never-ending.

Fear of failure: Most perfectionists struggle from fear of failure and sometimes avoid things like the plague as they are afraid that if they attempt it they may fail and this may lead to more frustration and anxiety.

Long days: The days are really long for perfectionists as they juggle between too many things and are always short of time to do what they intended to do for the day. This is because their list is too long as we said earlier and filled with goals that are difficult to achieve.

The term perfectionism is so commonly used and misused without understanding the true meaning of it, without actually knowing what a perfectionist goes through. A lot of my clients who proudly claim to be perfectionists initially in a coaching session pour their hearts out on how agonizing it is to be a perfectionist. They thrive for high goals that are impossible to achieve.

If you are a perfectionist look back at what made you this way. Some may have had a boss who was never happy with what they did. Others may have had a spouse who was a high achiever and a harsh critic, who was never satisfied with their achievements. Others may be the child of extremely busy parents who had no time for them growing up and now they do the very best to get noticed by their parents and others. We do gain a lot from our negative habits as the ignored child may become very successful but the perfectionism trigger would have come a long way and is still living with this person. While we may not be able to get rid of our behavior pattern completely, we can certainly address it and seek help for it.

Hamna Siddique MS, CCII, CLC is a coach specializing in career, business, and leadership coaching. Website: www.hamnsiddique.com, Email: hamnasiddique@goldbridge.llc. ©2019 Goldbridge Coaching LLC | All Rights Reserved |

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