The Problem With Perfectionism: How to Embrace Imperfection

Perfectionism—the tendency to demand flawlessness from yourself or others—can often be a positive quality. Perfectionists tend to be highly motivated and ambitious, and thanks to their close attention to detail and their willingness to work long hours, they often excel at school and in the workplace.


However, perfectionism also has a downside. In some cases, perfectionists can be overly critical, taking an all-or-nothing mindset and failing to accept anything that doesn’t meet their (sometimes unattainable) standards, no matter how much time and effort went into the work. Perfectionists also tend to base their own self-worth on their performance abilities, which can be damaging if they don’t deliver perfect results. In fact, studies have shown that perfectionists often experience higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression, lower self confidence and are more likely to become burned out.


Tips for Embracing Imperfection


Perfectionism can be difficult to overcome, but it’s possible to do so. Here are some tips for how to manage perfectionist tendencies:


  • Set more realistic goals.
  • Reduce how much effort you’re putting into tasks and pay attention to whether anyone notices any difference in the results.
  • Try to think of mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Recognize when you begin to think like a perfectionist, and then challenge those thoughts.
  • Keep a log of triggers that produce negative emotions and critical self talk. Replace with more kinder messages to keep your internal narrative more neutral and positive.
  • If seeing pictures and videos of people leading seemingly perfect lives triggers you, remind yourself that their posts are likely curated (and if that still doesn’t work, try taking a break from social media altogether).


For More Information


Do you suspect that you might be a perfectionist? If so, we invite you to schedule a counseling appointment with Minds at Peace Therapy. We’re highly experienced in treating patients who struggle with perfectionism, and we can supply you with personalized advice that will help you embrace imperfection, reduce the harmful effects of stress and anxiety along with improving your overall quality of life. Contact us today to get started.

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