While knowing that nothing and no one in life is perfect, it can be challenging to internalize this concept. “A grade of 90% on a test, that’s too bad, should have gotten 100%,” “Lost a half a pound this week, but the goal was 1 pound. Failed again.” And on and on.
Seeking constant perfection makes one miserable.In convincing themselves that things must be perfect, individuals are doomed to a life of disappointment. Being a perfectionist means that one is never good enough, and others are likely to be viewed as not good enough either. Perfectionists often become anxious, depressed and chronic procrastinators.
There are many factors that collaborate in making a perfectionist. From family history to an unforgiving social media and idealized advertisements, we ultimately live in a society that has often lost track of striving towards an excellent goal , in favor of having unrealistic expectations which cannot be met.
Often perfectionism is not about perfecting things, but rather about perfecting what one views as an imperfect self.
Expecting perfectionists to change their outlook by simply telling them to lower their standards rarely works. Collaboratively exploring their individual and unique motivations, and working with them in identifying more productive and less painful ways to view the world, often results in a much happier and satisfying life.
Anthony, M.A., Swinson, R.P. (2009). When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.