“Taming” Perfectionistic Tendencies

Are you a Perfectionist?

Perfectionists are the individuals who hold a full time job, work over-time, volunteer, plan the family trips, are the friend who is always available, and the “glue” that holds the family together. They are the overachievers, the ones who strive to be top of the class, the stellar employees. The problem with perfectionists is that they have very high and most often unrealistic expectations of themselves and others. They tend to take on way too much and this leaves them depleted of energy and sometimes feeling resentful that others aren’t putting in as much effort as they are. The perfectionistic personality has a need for control and structure and when things don’t go according to plan, they are left feeling powerless and sometimes like a failure. Black and White or All or Nothing thinking is common with this personality type, they often see things as successes/failures; good/bad; healthy/unhealthy and there is little room for grey in their outlook.

Sometimes being a perfectionist helps us to achieve goals, keeps us focused and shows others that we are responsible and reliable. But on the other hand, perfectionists can be very prone to anxiety and depression, especially when they feel that they can’t meet their very high expectations and are therefore letting others down. Many perfectionists become very self-critical and develop low self-esteem due to their lack of self-compassion and the unrealistic pressures that they put on themselves. They stop engaging in self-care (or never actually did engage in self-care!) and they burn themselves out until they have nothing left to give.

Psychotherapy can assist with “taming” perfectionistic tendencies by challenging rigid thought processes, breaking personal “rules” that perfectionists set for themselves, setting boundaries and learning to be accepting of good outcomes rather than “perfect” outcomes.

Have a wonderful Tuesday!