To feel happy and be worthwhile I must achieve, succeed at what ever I do, and make no mistakes.
To be human is to be imperfect. Yet many people try to be more than human. Some strive for the ultimate in everything they do – no matter what the cost. Others go to all lengths to avoid ever making a mistake, even to the point of restricting their lives.
What is wrong with seeking perfection?
Perfectionistic people often find it hard to admit to their perfectionism. To them it seems normal. But perfectionism is not as good as it sounds:
It creates dissatisfaction. By demanding unrealistic standards, you set yourself up to fail. You then feel dissatisfied with the result – and bad about yourself.
Striving to be perfect actually increases the risk of failing. Demanding a perfect result will make you anxious – which will make it harder to do well. Paradoxical, is it not? Standards that are too high set people up to fail!
Perfectionism blocks productivity. You can spend so much time polishing up one task you get little else done.
Believing that you must avoid any risk of failure will keep you in the same old boring job, stop you learning new skills, and restrict you to what seems safe.
Your health can suffer. The anxiety and tension that perfectionism causes can lead to physical problems such as hypertension, heart disease, headaches and stomach ulcers.
Relationships come under stress. Others get irritated with your striving and fussiness. If you demand that they too behave perfectly, you create a recipe for resentment, anger, and conflict.
Finally, you miss chances to learn. If you are afraid to admit any imperfections, you will get defensive when criticised rather than welcome it as a learning experience, and avoid trying anything new where there is a risk of getting it wrong.